Ag News

YF&R Competitors, Women's Committee represent Georgia

By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau

Colt Hart, Brian Fleming and Willie Sizemore represented Georgia in the three AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers events held during the AFBF convention.

Lee County Farm Bureau member Willie Sizemore talked his way into the Sweet 16 round of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet contest.  This event is designed to simulate a committee meeting where participants talk about an ag-related issue and explore possible solutions. Contestants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic.

During his first round of competition Sizemore prevailed against competitors from Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and South Carolina to advance. In the second round, he faced contestants from Maryland, Montana and Ohio to get to the third round, which pitted him against competitors from Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Sizemore faced eventual winner Mike Hannewald of Ohio in the second round.

Sizemore graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 with a degree in agricultural communications and is currently a student at the Mercer University Law School.

Bernie LeFils of Florida was the second-place runner-up. Kreg Vollmer of Colorado won third place, and Rachel Hyde of Indiana was the fourth-place finalist.

Hart County Farm Bureau member Brian Fleming competed in the Excellence in Agriculture competition on Jan. 7, delivering a PowerPoint presentation outlining the advocacy work he does on behalf of agriculture. 

This competition recognizes young farmers and ranchers for their agricultural advocacy efforts and leadership. Brian has chaired the Hart County Farm Bureau YF&R Committee since 2014 and grew the county’s YF&R program from just himself to its current membership of about 35. He served on the GFB YF&R Committee from 2019 to 2021 and regularly visits local schools to teach students about agriculture.

Fleming, of Hart County, is operations manager for PTL Agriculture, the family farm owned by his dad, Bobby, that produces soybeans, wheat, oats, milo and corn on approximately 1,000 acres, along with maintaining a small herd of brood cows and growing hay. Brian also runs a small seed-cleaning operation that serves area farmers.  

Stacie Anderson of Ohio won the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award. Kristy Miron of Minnesota was the second-place runner-up. Garrett and Miranda Driver of California won third place. Kaylee Heap of Illinois is the fourth-place finalist.   

Franklin County Farm Bureau member Colt Hart represented Georgia in the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award competition. Colt is a fourth-generation farmer in Franklin County who raises beef cattle, broilers & goats with his wife, LeAnna Bond Hart.  The Harts also grow millet, ryegrass, Bermudagrass & wheat. The Harts represent GFB's 2nd District on the GFB YF&R Committee & Colt is chairing the committee this year.

Daniel and Carla Trantham of Alabama won the Achievement Award. Derek and Micayla Giffin of Tennessee were the second-place runners-up. Evan Hultine of Illinois won third place.

Rachael Sharp of South Carolina is the fourth-place finalist.

The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

GFB members attend Women’s Leadership Meeting

Many thanks to the Georgia Farm Bureau members who represented Georgia at the Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Women. GFB delegates were: GFB Women's Leadership Committee Chairman Kathy Malone Sanders, immediate past GFB WLC Chairman Melissa Mathis, Donna Barrett, Connie Copelan, Doris Jean Malone and Lisa Rainwater.

The women’s meeting allowed delegates to discuss ways to promote agriculture to consumers and students.

“I Love Strawberries,” authored by Shannon Anderson, was announced as the 2023 AFBF Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year at the convention. This book shows young readers how strawberries grow, what pests to look out for in a garden, why ladybugs are helpful, and much more.