GFB Commodity Committees hold spring meetings
Georgia Farm Bureau's Commodity Advisory Committees (CACs) are holding their spring meetings. Each of the 20 CACs will meet and hold preliminary discussions for GFB’s annual policy development process. Guest speakers are providing commodity-specific analysis at many of the committee meetings.
Each committee is also submitting nominations for the GFB Commodity Award, given to recognize a long-serving individual who has had a significant impact on Georgia agriculture. The award will be presented as part of the GFB Commodity Conference, scheduled for Aug. 10 in Athens.
Through March 20, the CACs for tobacco, environmental horticulture, cotton, dairy, fruit, vegetables, honeybees, pecan and direct marketing/agritourism met, with the remaining CACs scheduled through mid-April.
The GFB Environmental Horticulture Committee, chaired by Will Ross, held its spring meeting on March 9 at the GFB home office in Macon. The committee discussed commodity issues and received legislative reports from the GFB Public Policy Department and Lanie Riner, executive director of Georgia Green Industry Association.
The CAC for Cotton, chaired by David Holton, met March 13 at the GFB home office and heard zoom presentations from Jody Campiche, the National Cotton Council's vice president for economic and policy analysis, and Tas Smith, NCC vice president for producer affairs, as well at Georgia Cotton Commission Executive Director Taylor Sills and Southern Cotton Growers CEO David Ruppenicker.
Campiche reviewed the economic outlook and Smith reviewed key factors growers should consider while deciding their approach to crop insurance. Smith also gave an outlook on the upcoming farm bill negotiations. The 2018 farm bill expires Sept. 30.
The CAC for Dairy, chaired by Joel Keith, also met March 13 at the GFB home office and was joined by Georgia Milk Producers Executive Director Bryce Trotter. Trotter advised the committee that the Georgia Department of Agriculture has posted its proposed rules governing raw milk for human consumption. The proposed rules may be read here. The GDA is accepting public comment about the proposed rules until April 13. Trotter also noted a letter-writing campaign by milk stakeholder organizations concerning milk product labeling.
The CACs for Fruit, chaired by Tim McMillan, and Vegetables, chaired by Brad Calhoun, held a joint meeting March 14 and were joined by Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Director Emeritus Charles Hall and representatives from the USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) Georgia office. The RMA personnel presented information about risk management tools available to fruit and vegetable growers.
The CAC for Honeybees, chaired by J. Keith Fielder, met March 14 and discussed the possibility of expanding use of Georgia agricultural commodities in school nutrition programs, bee removal training and the possibility of exporting bees to Canada, which has experienced extensive colony losses.
The CAC for Pecans, chaired by Garrett Ganas, met March 15 and hosted a roundtable discussion with other pecan stakeholder organizations at the state and national levels, covering international trade, domestic and international marketing approaches, risk management tools and more.