Georgia Farm Bureau elects 2023 board of directors
By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) voting delegates elected the organization’s 2023 board of directors Dec. 6 during the 85th Annual GFB Convention held on Jekyll Island.
GFB voting delegates reelected Tom McCall to a second, two-year term. He was first elected in 2020. McCall and his family grow a variety of grain crops, sweet corn, hay and straw along with beef cattle, hogs and sheep on their farm in Fortsonia in Elbert County. He and his wife, Jane, have two adult children: Al (wife Rachel) and Katie M. Archer (husband Bristol), two grandsons and one granddaughter. The McCalls are of the Methodist faith.
McCall has been a Farm Bureau member since 1978. His first leadership role with Farm Bureau was serving as the chairman of the Elbert County Farm Bureau (ECFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee. He represented GFB’s 2nd District on the GFB YF&R Committee in 1981-82 and chaired the state committee in 1982. McCall represented GFB’s 2nd District on the GFB Board of Directors from 1984-1996. He also served as ECFB president for a number of years.
McCall served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years from Jan. 9, 1995, when he was sworn into office, until he retired from the legislature at the end of his 2020 term. As a state representative, McCall represented Georgia’s House Dist. 33, which at the time included Elbert and Lincoln counties and portions of Madison, Wilkes and Columbia counties. McCall chaired the Georgia House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee from January 2005-2020.
GFB members in the organization’s south region reelected Daniel Johnson of Pierce County to a third, three-year term representing their 53-county region in the southern third of the state as GFB South Georgia vice president. All GFB voting delegates designated Johnson to serve as GFB 1st vice president from among the organization’s three regional vice presidents. The GFB first vice president would be tapped to lead the organization should the president be unable to serve.
Johnson, who grows tobacco, corn, cotton and peanuts, previously represented the organization’s 10th District on the GFB Board of Directors from 2006-2016. He is vice president of Pierce County Farm Bureau (PCFB) and previously served as PCFB president for 25 years. Johnson chairs the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Tobacco. He and his wife, Patricia, have four children and three grandchildren.
Ralph Caldwell of Heard County begins the second year of his three-year term as GFB Middle Georgia vice president that members in the organization’s Middle Georgia Region elected him to last year. The GFB Middle Georgia Region includes 56 county Farm Bureaus in the middle third of Georgia stretching from the Alabama line to Georgia’s coast.
Caldwell and his wife, Kim, farm with his father, Gwen, raising poultry and cattle while growing corn and soybeans. The couple’s son, Colton, who is married to Delayna, helps on the farm when he isn’t at his law practice. Caldwell, a preacher for more than 30 years, is currently serving as a fill-in pastor for area churches.
Caldwell has served as a Heard County Farm Bureau (HCFB) director since 1990 and as the HCFB president since 2013. He served on the GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee from 1992-1994. He is a supervisor for the West Georgia Soil Conservation District.
Bernard Sims of Catoosa County begins the third year of his fifth, three-year term as the GFB North Georgia vice president. The GFB North Georgia Region includes 49 county Farm Bureaus in the northern third of Georgia. Sims serves as the Catoosa County Farm Bureau president, a position he has held since 1979. Sims and his wife, Janet, grow turf grass, small grains and hay and raise cattle. The Sims have two surviving adult children and eight grandchildren. They are members of Burning Bush Baptist Church.
The following were reelected to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: Wesley Hall of Forsyth County, 1st District; Russ Moon of Madison County, 2nd District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle of McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms of Pike County, 5th District; James Emory Tate of Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd of Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood of Wilcox County, 8th District; Lucius Adkins of Baker County, 9th District; and Lamar Vickers of Berrien County, 10th District.
GFB directors beginning the second year of the two-year terms they were elected to in 2021 are: Bill Bryan of Chattooga County, 1st District; Gilbert Barrett of Habersham County, 2nd District; Brad Marks of Newton County, 3rd District; Russ Wilburn of Barrow County, 4th District; Leighton Cooley of Crawford County, 5th District; James Malone of Laurens County, 6th District; Gary Bell of Evans County, 7th District; Scotty Raines of Turner County, 8th District; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District; and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District.
Colt Hart of Franklin County was named chairman of the GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Kathy Sanders of Laurens County was selected chairman of the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee. Each will serve a one-year term as committee chairmen and will sit on the GFB Board of Directors.
Appointed officers of the GFB Board of Directors include General Counsel Duke Groover, Chief Financial Officer & Corporate Treasurer David Jolley, Chief Administrative Officer Jeffrey Harvey, Corporate Secretary Jeanna Fennell, and Assistant Corporate Treasurer Rachel Mosely.
Delegates also voted on policy that will direct the organization’s stance on legislative issues pertaining to agriculture in the coming year.