This is the Georgia Farm Monitor. Since 1966, your source for state and national agribusiness news and features for farmers and consumers about Georgia’s number one industry, agriculture. The Georgia Farm Monitor is produced by the state’s largest general farm organization, the Georgia Farm Bureau. Now, here are your hosts, Ray D’Alessio and Kenny Burgamy. WELL, MAYBE YOU DIDN’T MISS US, BUT WE’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT YOU ALL WEEK AND WE’RE GLAD YOU TUNED INTO ANOTHER EDITION OF THE FARM MONITOR. IF YOU’RE A FIRST TIME VIEWER, GREETINGS, WELCOME. I’M RAY D’ALESSIO AND I’M KENNY BURGAMY. COMING UP ON TODAY’S SHOW… REJOICE AND CELEBRATE. THE NEW MEASURE THAT’LL PROVIDE COTTON PRODUCERS AND LENDERS SOME CERTAINTY AS THEY PREPARE FOR THE 2018 GROWING SEASON. ALSO ON THE SHOW, THROUGH GOOD VALUES AND FELLOWSHIP. HOW THIS 16-ACRE FARM IN ALBANY IS MAKING AN IMPACT NOT ONLY ON THE RESIDENTS OF THE COMMUNITY – BUT ALSO ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY. AND THEN LATER, WHETHER IT’S LAND, AIR OR SEA THE GEORGIA DNR IS READY AT THE DROP OF A DIME. JOIN US FOR A UNIQUE LOOK AT HOW THE ORGANIZATION PREPARES WEEKS, EVEN MONTHS, IN ADVANCE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS.
THESE STORIES AND SO MUCH MORE STARTS RIGHT NOW ON THE FARM MONITOR. After being left in the cold by the 2014 Farm Bill, cotton growers have been fighting for years to receive the same kind of financial protection as other crops. And all that work will finally come to fruition with the recent signing of a new Senate Budget Package. Damon Jones tells you what growers can expect and how this bill will also benefit another ag sector. Almost everywhere you looked around South Georgia last year, there were rows and rows of peanuts, as farmers planted a record million acres. And a big reason for that was the absence of coverage the 2014 Farm Bill provided cotton growers. It’s a problem those farmers and the cotton council have been fighting ever since. We want cotton on the same, level playing field as with other commodities. Other commodities like corn, wheat, soybeans, have a safety net under the 2014 Farm Bill. Cotton did not. However, after years of hard work, the crop is finally being added into the Title 1 coverage as an oilseed, which means they are now eligible for Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage under the current Farm Bill.
And while the kick in price of 37 cents might seem low, it’s actually a fair price when considering the calculations. This seed cotton program has what’s called a reference price. And that reference price is cents. Farmers kind of on the face of it will look at that and say “Dang, that’s a pretty low price.” Well, you have to understand how it’s calculated. That is a weighted average price of both cotton and cotton seed. Cotton might be selling for 70-80 cents per pound but cotton seed might be selling for 8 or 9. So, when you take a weighted average of both of those, it pulls that average way down to that 36.7. So, that is a weighted average between the price of cotton and the price of cotton seed. And when you consider that, it’s really not that low. As for the STAX program, which was created as an alternative to Title 1 coverage, it could soon be a thing of the past. If you convert what’s called generic base on a farm now to this seed cotton base, then you would no longer be eligible for STAX.
So, effectively what that means is that come 2019, or next crop year, STAX will no longer exist. The cotton industry wasn’t the only ones to benefit from the new Spending Bill, as milk producers also receive assistance. The cutoff for Tier 1 of the Margin Protection Program has been raised by a million pounds and premiums being paid by small and medium sized farms have been waived or greatly reduced. For the tier 1 milk production, which is everything below 5 million pounds of milk, so for a smaller dairy that is going to produce less than 5 million pounds of milk, those are the premiums they would pay between five dollars, I mean up to 8 dollars’ worth of coverage.
And it’s not just the smaller dairies get some aid, as Tier 2 producers will also benefit from a change to monthly payments. It’s going to be more efficient in the sense that we’re going to have a monthly calculation of the payments. So, instead of every two months, say you know, one month the milk prices are really low and the feed costs are very high, and then the next month, maybe things got a little better and things would sort of wash out the payment, now since it’s going to be on a monthly basis, that’s going to help producers across the board, not just the smaller end, the smaller dairies, but also larger dairies as well.
It’s going to make it more efficient. Reporting from Tifton, I’m Damon Jones for the Farm Monitor. All right Damon, thank you very much. In other ag news, the American Farm Bureau Federation says farmers and ranchers have a unique opportunity to enhance pollinator and monarch health. As concerns over the population decline of monarch butterflies continue, congressional relations director Ryan Yates says farmers and ranchers have an opportunity to improve pollinator and monarch health, as monarchs migrate across rural America.
We’ve seen farmers across this habitat looking at how they can participate, provide new conservation areas and habitats for the butterfly to ultimately preclude the government from getting involved. We encourage them to reach out to their county Farm Bureau, their state Farm Bureau, to look and ask for resources about how they can participate in conservation efforts and identify state, local, non-profit resources that can help give them the best practices that they need. And, across the ag industry we look to create new opportunities and new resources for farmers in the months ahead. As you know, Georgia grows a wide variety of crops and has for a long time, but in the past few years, we’ve seen some really good numbers when it comes to citrus. Yeah, it’s really gaining some ground as more and more people get involved.
Recently, growers had their second annual conference in Tifton. Our John Holcomb was there and tells us what was discussed. To promote and educate people about Georgia citrus… that’s part of the Georgia Citrus Association’s mission statement, and that’s what they did recently at their second annual meeting down in Tifton to around 300 people that come to learn about this rapidly growing industry. It is exploding, we doubled last year in 2017, we doubled the number of trees in the state from 21,000 to 42,000, so in 2018, people are starting to plant in March, we could potentially double again. It’s incredible. Those at the conference got the chance to meet with vendors, network with one another, and attend breakout sessions, each educating those there on various topics… something that Lindy Savelle, President of the Georgia Citrus Association says is most important. The experts in Florida will tell you to take it slow and easy, to learn about how to grow healthy citrus and to protect the golden egg opportunity that you have in Georgia.
We’re sitting here, our state’s not rampant with disease, and so what we’ve got to do is make sure that we protect the opportunity and not kill it before we get it off the ground. One of the big topics was on pests and diseases. The main one, of course, being HLB, or citrus greening, which is causing major problems in Florida and could be an issue here in Georgia. The challenges with citrus greening is that it only takes one psyllid to have a tree become infected by HLB, and with HLB, the bacteria can be in the tree before you see the symptoms. Of course, after hearing about pests and diseases, they also got the chance to hear about what’s being done to combat them. One big way they’re spread is through human assistance, and the department of ag is working to solve that problem. The number one way that plant pests, insects, diseases have been moved in the past is through human movement.
We take a plant from one place, and then we take the plant to another place. One method the Georgia Department of Agriculture, as well as the USDA is using to stop spreading is regulations. It may sound daunting, but they are trying to protect the huge investments at risk. We don’t know how big citrus is going to get, but there’s a possibility, like you said, that these folks are going to be investing lot of money and this is something we want to work with the folks on. Growers also got to learn about ways to sell their new crop. Matthew Kulinski from the Georgia Grown marketing team spoke in a breakout session on what the Georgia Grown program is doing to help market Georgia citrus. The goal of the Georgia department of agriculture’s marketing division is to help farmers sell their products. That’s our main challenge and our main goal and all of our plans are centered around that mission. We are working with citrus farmers right now to be able to identify the right market for them.
Kulinski explained how there are some marketing challenges they are going to face, with this being a new crop from Georgia. One of the first challenges we’re going to have is not many people are aware of Georgia citrus, and what Georgia has to offer, so a lot of education will come into play in being able to educate both the retailers as well as consumers about what to expect from Georgia citrus and what Georgia citrus is available. Reporting in Tifton for the Farm Monitor, I’m John Holcomb. ALL RIGHT JOHN, GREAT JOB SIR. WHEN WE COME BACK. THE AMAZING STORY OF HEALTHY LIVING FARMS IN ALBANY, GEORGIA.
THEIR VISION – TO PROVIDE FRESH FOOD OPTIONS, PROMOTE HEALTH AND WELLNESS TO STIMULATE THE LOCAL ECONOMY. My name is Jesse Cronic. This is my sixth year showing livestock and third year showing cattle. I’m with the West Jackson Middle FFA Chapter, and when I was about in first grade or second grade I started showing goats, just to get something started and I ended up loving it.
I ended up showing goats for four years and eventually moved on to cattle. We have a farm in Hartwell and I love it. I would live there if I could. We’ve done some winning, had a pretty good show career, and it’s not all about winning, but it’s fun, I love it. In the mornings, we’ll get up and bring them in and feed them, and that afternoon I’ll come in walk them a few laps, get them practicing for showmanship and then we’ll rinse them and work their hair. We usually try to walk and rinse at least every night, but with so much going on, you can’t always do that. Our state fair, we won it with my angus heifer last October and we’re hoping to do pretty good today at our state show. Well, defeat, it happens, and you’ve got to move on. Sometimes it hurts to get beat, I don’t like to get beat one bit, I love to win, but you’ve got to move on, and defeat sometimes lead to winning, and hard work and dedication is what gets the job done.
Every night and every morning we’re in the barn, feeding the heifers, washing, rinsing, walking, everything we can do. I like sports, I like to watch sports, but there’s a whole lot more life lessons in showing and learning from what you can get better at and defeat, you have to learn to move on with it and just get better as you go. I want to do something in the ag field. I’m not exactly sure, maybe an embryologist or something like that, but I’m really not sure exactly what I want to do just yet. I do want to go to an agricultural college, maybe Texas A&M or Oklahoma State, somewhere like that judging their livestock judging team, but I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, but I know I want to be in the ag field. You know, elected officials, governors and stuff like that, that might be a career path. Would you consider ever becoming governor? Of course, I would, that would be awesome, I’d love to do that. Maybe not president, but I think I could do governor. AS THE CEO AND MANAGER OF HEALTHY LIVING FARMS IN ALBANY, GEORGIA.
CHARLENE GLOVER TELLS ME SHE IS A TRUE BELIEVER IN DEVINE INTERVENTION. YOU SEE, CHARLENE IS ALSO A MINISTER AND SAYS THE FARMS BUSINESS MODEL IS BASED ON STRONG RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES. ACCORDING TO CHARLENE, THAT DEVINE INTERVENTION TOOK PLACE WHILE SHE WAS GATHERING INFORMATION FOR THE LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. We were looking at data about the community and things that we needed to do, and at the same time we were having some of our larger industries downsize or relocate.
And consequently, I began to learn some of the statistical data about the health and the fact that we had a real issue with diabetes and hypertension, and even infant mortality. A lot of what I began to learn was that some of our health issues are pervasive based on diet. And so we realized that there were no options, or very little options, for healthy eating so we decided that we would look around and see what are the options we had to be able to bring food for healthy lifestyle as well as employment because we were on a downsize with some of the major industries.
And so consequently, I talked to our, our team at our church, Trumpet of God Ministries and Training Center. We started talking about, how can we solve problems or how can we create solutions? and looked at what we had in our hand, kind of like Moses, and we had land in our hand. We came upon the property that we’re at now. We acquired the sixteen and a half acres. We’re now an urban farm growing on about three and a half acres, and we’re now now naturally certified naturally grown farm. We produce about ten different types of vegetables, and as a result of that, we began to look around in our community and thought this is a way that we could service our community and as we grow the business that we’ll be able to offer employment to perhaps some of the people that are not readily employable. We have some of the most committed congregants and team leaders that serve with me.
We have about twenty people that I can call on at any time to help us do work on the farm, so they help us plant. I have two farmers that have about twenty-five, thirty years together, conventional farm training. I have people that come out. We have segments of the farm that we’ve divided up, and we have people that are responsible for certain produce. They’ll help plant, they’ll help weed and keep that area clean, and so it wasn’t a hard pitch. It was just more so them talking about the farm. We talked about the vision of how we could solve problems or be a solution in our community. And from that perspective, it involved into, we’re going to grow produce. And I’ve had such a tremendous support.
99% of our team members are all volunteers. We have a rotation schedule of people coming in, they make a commitment on their schedule of when they’re coming in the week or what day. We send out the work plan, “This is what we need to do,” and we have a response back saying, “I’m available for this many hours this week. I’ll be there to help to do it.” We’re building our social media network so we can keep those people engaged because I think people really appreciate the quality that they’re finding in our products, and that people want to. They’re becoming more health conscious, not just weight conscious but health conscious so they’re wanting to eat in a way that’s nourishing for their bodies. So we’re trying to incorporate providing the food, providing the education, also working with our youth.
We’ve started to do field trips and we did our first field trip in May. We have one of our educators who’s put together our curriculum to meet the Georgia standards so that we can make the field trips very educational to introduce our children to agri-science, agri-business and agriculture. Right now, we sell from our local market. We’ve just been introduced to a couple markets in Atlanta that we’re going to do our first wholesale from this harvest, and so we’re hoping to be able to be a broader community of servicing the business industry with our produce.
SUCH A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT. AGAIN, THAT’S HEALTHY LIVING FARMS IN ALBANY. CHECK THEM OUT ON THE WEB: www.healthylivingfarms.org. You can also find them on Facebook. DON’T FORGET. IF YOU MISSED ANY PART OF THIS STORY OR OTHERS ON TODAY’S PROGRAM. YOU CAN STILL SEE THEM IN THEIR ENTIRETY AT OUR YOU TUBE CHANNEL, THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR. PLENTY OF STUFF TO CHOOSE FROM. IN FACT, THE ARCHIVE GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO 2009. AND WHILE YOU’RE THERE, KEEP CLICKING AND LIKE THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR FACEBOOK PAGE. SEND US SOME FEEDBACK AS WELL. IF YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA, OR IF YOU IF YOU JUST WANT TO LEAVE US A COMMENT OR SUGGESTION. SEND US A MESSAGE EITHER ON FACEBOOK OR AT THE ADDRESS THAT’S ON YOUR SCREEN… THAT’S NEWS@FARM-MONITOR.COM. When we come back… the Georgia DNR and the painstaking steps they take to protect you, before, during and after a natural disaster.
Finally this week. With its variety of equipment and specially trained employees, very few realize that the Georgia DNR is uniquely suited to respond to disasters in our state Yeah Ray – and thanks to a special video feature by the DNR, as you’re about to see, whether it’s boats, ATVs, heavy equipment or personnel trained specifically for the job, Georgia DNR is, in fact, the tip of the spear in disaster response. The days leading up to IRMA, we were like every other Georgian. We’re watching the news. “Tracking hurricane Irma as it moves closer to making landfall in the US.” They start making their predictions. “Let’s get that update on Hurricane Irma, the sheer unrelenting force of hurricane Irma.
Life-threatening storm surge expected afternoon everything shifting toward the northward and then gradually losing strength” Irma had an impact statewide. The track kept changing. Part of the DNR’s job’s to be there before, during, and after the storm and that’s exactly what we did. The most important resource DNR offers during severe weather is our staff and our personnel. We train every day with Mother Nature and her elements and so we’re uniquely qualified to react to these storms. What those skill sets can mean for responding to an event, whether you be with state parks with lodging, law Enforcement Division, Wildlife Resources Division, biologists, technicians in the field.
Our historic preservation Division – they have to come in and assess historic assets after these issues. In an emergency sometimes things can get chaotic and the leader that we designated may not be there. So one thing we kept hearing from our personnel was… provide better training or more training to be able to better respond. Critical incident management training is applying incident command system, also allowing staff to play the roles in practical exercises. We instituted that last year and we’ve had over 200 of our employees go through that. It helps you to put tactical objectives in place so that every responder knows what your objective is for that incident. So we have one of these emergencies, we just all come together. So about 72 hours out the GEMA director will call all the agency heads and we’ll start communicating and then all our people leaning forward.
As DNR and the state agencies prepare for upcoming storms, Georgians are also preparing. “With regard to Georgia’s preparation mandatory evacuation will go into effect tomorrow.” “Doors and windows boarded up and sandbags piled high as many are choosing to get out of Irma’s path.” “The word of that evacuation has spread quickly” As they’re evacuating we try to give as much information as we can. Where the shelters are. We have 60 state parks and historic sites throughout Georgia. So, during Hurricane Irma, parks properties housed approximately 11,500 individuals.
And then we had an additional 479 that were dry camping with us. So that came close to 12,000 individuals staying at our sites. As far as preparing those shelters, the park managers contacts the local Emergency Management Agency for food items, for bottled water, from diapers or hygiene products – make sure that they’re fully stocked clean functional. One provision that we have found very important is to be able to take care of their pets. All those facilities become pet friendly. When you’re dealing with you know these storm systems that are massive in nature and statewide in perspective and then the day comes and the event’s here… You know the flooding the flooding along the coast was was worse than than Matthew the one year prior. We have maintenance facilities, shops, houses, homes all flooded. Hurricane Irma not only reshapes a lot of your infrastructure but it reshapes the landscape itself. Where dunes that were 20-30 feet ocean-side were now just cut and eroded away and you have a new shoreline.
So you have docks that are dangling in the air it’s… the scene down there after one of these events is amazing but Mother Nature as always teaches us so many different valuable lessons. GEMA prioritizes the re-entry effort but we’re the tip of the spear. We sent our debris teams. They’re eight-man teams equipment used to reentry’s a lot of the same equipment, we use on a daily basis. We use our air assets, our helicopters, pilots get up to assess the damage from the air and direct our teams where they need to be. So we have big trucks, our law enforcement section, every ranger has a 4-wheel drive, a boat, the chainsaws, ropes. So we clear from white line to white line getting the roads passable and just cover as much ground as we can usually working 12-hour shifts.
Your local police department, Sheriff’s Department ,are your first responders there on the scene. So, if its water or woods, our officers are always the best to respond to that. One of the greatest things that I saw throughout any of our response effort is our team work I’m really blessed that I lead an agency that has troops that are so flexible. Thank you for our personnel, the department as a whole.
Even though we’ve got different divisions, collectively we come together and work seamlessly as one department. WOW! REALLY GOOD PIECE AND A HUGE THANKS TO THE GEORGIA DNR FOR ALLOWING US TO SHARE THAT WITH YOU. THAT IS GOING TO DO IT FOR THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE FARM MONITOR. AND A FRIENDLY REMINDER. FOR ALL THE LATEST AG INFO REGARDING FOOD, GREAT RECIPES AND WHAT’S HAPPENING DOWN ON THE FARM. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR TWITTER, FACEBOOK AND PINTEREST PAGES. YOU’LL STAY INFORMED AND SEE WHAT’S UP IN THE WORLD OF FARMING AND WITH US HERE ON THE SHOW. TAKE CARE EVERYBODY. WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, RIGHT HERE ON THE FARM MONITOR. HAVE A GREAT WEEK. .
As found on Youtube