Georgia Farm Bureau Presents State Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 4, 2017
CONTACT: Jennifer Whittaker firstname.lastname@example.org
MACON, Ga. – Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 80th annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they conducted this past year to promote agriculture.
“Each year Georgia Farm Bureau recognizes outstanding young farmers who compete in our contests and county Farm Bureaus that have gone the extra mile to promote agriculture in their communities. It’s the efforts of our volunteer members who visit their local schools to teach students about agriculture or host farm tours for their community leaders and elected officials that create a greater understanding of farming in their communities. Georgia Farm Bureau’s success in serving as the voice of Georgia farmers is a direct result of the work our county leaders and volunteers do,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “I congratulate our individual winners, volunteer leaders and staff who received state awards and thank everyone who conducted ag awareness activities in their communities this year.”
GFB named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member program - from each of its three membership categories. Upson County Farm Bureau, whose president is Brian Johnston, received the McKemie Award for the small membership category. Toombs County Farm Bureau, whose president is Chris Hopkins, won the McKemie Award for the medium membership category. Hall County Farm Bureau, whose president is Jerry Truelove, received the award in the large membership category. The McKemie Award is a memorial to one of the organization’s former presidents, W.J. McKemie.
Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the small membership category were: Bacon, Crawford, Hancock, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Treutlen and Turner counties. Finalists for the medium membership category were: Cook, Dawson, Greene, Harris, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Screven, Troup and Washington counties. Finalists in the large membership category were: Banks, Barrow, Cherokee, Cobb, Coffee, Colquitt, Henry, Houston, Jackson, McDuffie and Paulding counties.
Other state awards presented were the: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Toombs County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Henry County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau.
Debbie Payne, the Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Payne, who has been employed with CCFB since 1994, was recognized for the work she has done to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Payne is responsible for coordinating CCFB’s agricultural advocacy and Ag in the Classroom activities throughout the year including organizing the CCFB Farmers Market.
Dr. Wendy Fushchetti, an elementary teacher in Banks County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2017 Teacher of the Year Award. Fushchetti, who teaches third grade at Banks County Elementary School in Homer, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her math, science and social studies classes to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. She received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine, in June 2018.
Eddy Turner of Washington County won the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. Samples of hay entered in the contest were tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and the likeliness livestock will eat the hay. Turner’s winning Tift 44 Bermuda hay had an RFQ rating of 136. He won the free use of a Vermeer 504R Signature baler for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company with the option to purchase the baler at a reduced price at the end of the year.
Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County received the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers who earn most of their income by farming. The Harrells, who operate Over Jordan Farm, are first-generation farmers who raise poultry and cattle and grow hay. They also own a business making and installing livestock handling equipment.
As the state winner, the Harrells received a side-by-side utility vehicle sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, a $500 cash prize from AgSouth Farm Credit and an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 5-10, 2018, to compete for national honors.
Will Godowns of Pike County was recognized as the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner and will enjoy an expense-paid trip to the AFBF Convention in Nashville to compete for national honors, courtesy of GFB. The discussion meet is intended to simulate a committee meeting during which agriculturalists discuss issues affecting agriculture. Godowns received an all-terrain-vehicle courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and a $500 cash award courtesy of GFB.
Josh and Skye Pennino of Hancock County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. GFB presents this award to recognize young farmers who earn most of their income from something other than production agriculture. Josh works as a livestock auctioneer and livestock relocation specialist. Skye is an assistant district attorney in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. The couple also raise cattle and grow hay. As the state winners, the Penninos received an all-terrain vehicle sponsored by Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance and an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention to compete in the national contest.
Founded in 1937, the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization with 158 county chapters. As a membership-driven, nongovernmental organization, GFB serves as the voice of Georgia farmers and rural Georgia by advocating for them on legislative issues and promoting Georgia commodities. Its volunteer members actively participate in activities that promote agriculture awareness.
GFB membership is open to the public and offers a wide variety of benefits, including insurance and discounts for health services, travel and family entertainment. Enrollment in any of the member benefits is optional and not a requirement for membership. If you would like more information about agriculture please visit www.gfb.org, like Georgia Farm Bureau on Facebook or follow GFB on Twitter.
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CUTLINE FOR PHOTO: Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 80th annual convention. GFB President Gerald Long (back row, far left) congratulates the 2017 GFB award recipients: (front row, from left) GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award winners Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County with their children Annabelle, Luke, Abigail and Augusta; GFB Outstanding Office Manager Debbie Payne of Cobb County; Caroline Lewallen accepting the GFB Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award for Hall County Farm Bureau; Mary Jones accepting the GFB Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Hall County; (back row, second from left) GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet Award winner Will Godowns of Pike County; Andy Garland accepting the GFB Outstanding Legislative Committee Award for Henry County Farm Bureau; Randy Usher accepting the GFB Outstanding Promotion & Education Committee Award for Toombs County Farm Bureau; Chris Hopkins accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Toombs County in the medium membership category; Marcus South accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Upson County Farm Bureau in the small membership category; Jerry Truelove accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Hall County Farm Bureau in the large membership category; and GFB Hay Contest Winner Eddy Turner of Washington County.
Not pictured are GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Dr. Wendy Fuschetti of Banks County and the Excellence in Agriculture Award Winners Josh and Skye Pennino of Hancock County. (Photo courtesy of Georgia Farm Bureau.)