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GFB honors legacy of long-time poultry leader Abit Massey

Posted on Jul 11, 2024 at 4:29 AM

Abit Massey, a 1996 inductee to the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame and a driving force in the growth of Georgia’s poultry sector over more than six decades with the Georgia Poultry Federation (GPF), died on June 21.

Massey, who was 96, served on the board of directors of the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture and was a Hall County Farm Bureau member.

Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall expressed fond remembrance of Massey.

“Mr. Abit was one of Jane’s and my closest friends,” McCall said. “He was a role model for me and many other folks. Even though he was in his nineties, he adapted to so many changes that happened every day. One of these was typing on his iPad with it upside down in his lap. He was a Southern gentleman who knew everybody and always remembered everybody's name. Mr. Abit loved his family and never failed to ask about your family.

“Nobody, I mean NOBODY has done as much for Georgia's poultry industry as Abit Massey. His second home was the Ag Committee office at the Capitol, and I was lucky to be able to listen to him daily. I learned SO much from his experience. Mr. Abit loved UGA and Georgia Agriculture. We all loved him dearly, and we will miss him immensely!”

Massey was inducted to the American Poultry Historical Society Hall of Fame in 2019.

“Abit leaves behind an unparalleled legacy of achievements, recognitions and community service, but perhaps his most lasting legacy is the host of people who were impacted by his kind gestures and personal support over the years,” GPF President Mike Giles wrote, noting that he was the catalyst for many of those changes.

Massey’s family held a private graveside service at the Alta Vista Cemetery in June. A celebration of his life was held July 8 at the Gainesville High School.

His advocacy for the poultry industry through his legislative and regulatory work has long been recognized.  His diligence on behalf of contract producers has been effective and widely emulated.  He played a significant role in expanding poultry research and education. 

He received the University of Georgia President’s Medal for his contributions to improving the quality of life in Georgia and received a Presidential Citation from Georgia Tech for Service to the State of Georgia.  Oct. 6, 2016, was proclaimed as “Abit Massey Day” by then-Governor Nathan Deal, since Abit exemplified an exceptional Georgian for his contributions in his personal endeavors and his professional pursuits.

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