Georgia Farm Monitor – September 17, 2016


[Announcer]
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. [RAY]
ALRIGHT, ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER SHOW AND TIME FOR US TO SHARE THE LATEST AG NEWS WITH YOU. HI EVERYBODY, THANKS SO MUCH FOR TUNING INTO
ANOTHER EDITION OF THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR. I’M RAY D’ALESSIO. [KENNY]
AND I’M KENNY BURGAMY. AS ALWAYS, HAPPY TO HAVE YOU ALONG FOR THE
NEXT 30 MINUTES. STRAIGHT AHEAD ON THE PROGRAM. CELEBRATING 20 YEARS… SEE HOW THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES GROWERS ASSOCIATION
CELEBRATED THAT OCCASION AND HOW THE ORGANIZATION HAS CHANGED SINCE ITS INCEPTION. [RAY]
ALSO ON THE PROGRAM, COULD THIS BE THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE? WE’LL SHOW YOU HOW RESEARCHERS IN AUSTRALIA
ARE TRYING TO MAKE FARM LIFE AND A WHOLE LOT SIMPLER FOR YOU. AND THEN LATER… [Ranger Nick]
“Hey everybody, Ranger Nick here. Coming up, we’re talking about things that
wiggle underground and are helping famers and soil. Stick around and check it out with us. I hope you dig it.” [KENNY]
This year the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association celebrates their 20th
anniversary. We spoke with the organization’s Executive
Director and found out why their mission has been so successful. [Kenny Burgamy – LaGrange, GA.] What started as an opportunity a little over
twenty years ago to help promote the fruit and vegetable industry in the state has become
a major passion for Charles Hall. Hall is the Executive Director of the organization
and says Georgia is a very diverse state, growing everything from beans to Brussel sprouts. [Charles Hall – Ex. Dir., GFVGA]
When the association started, their goal was to be the voice of the produce industry in
Georgia, and I think we’ve accomplished that, I think they’ve worked, worked hard to, to
get to that point and uh, we’ve got a great leadership group, throughout those twenty
years. [Kenny]
Hall credits the success of the association to all the producers that have contributed
their efforts in supporting the organization the past two decades. They’ve reached a number of milestones, including
the establishment of the workers’ compensation program, secured funding for the marketing
of Georgia’s specialties crops, and introduced the Georgia GAP food safety program. [Hall]
Uh, Georgia Farm Bureau was in the middle of, of it, because Ed Thornton was the uh,
uh, ad-hoc communiqué, coordinating ah, group from Georgia Farm Bureau, so they, Georgia
Farm Bureau had a very strong hand ah, in, in putting those groups together and kind
of forming that ad-hoc group. They, they met for about a year, umm, maybe
two years in ’94, ’95, and decided that, uh, by ’96 they needed to go ahead and start an
association. [Kenny]
Something you may or may not know is the management association continues to branch out and now
helps support several other groups. [Hall]
Our association, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s Association, is managed by a management
company, uh, it is called Association Services Group. And that particular company manages thirteen
different trade associations. Uh, a number of those are ag related. The Georgia Fruit, Georgia Watermelon Association,
uh, Georgia Agritourism Association, the eastern cantaloupe growers association, uh, and our
newest is the uh, American Agriculture Editors’ Association. Uh, that, but we work with those particular
associations also ah, to help them with their particular association ah, from a management
standpoint, financially, communication wise, marketing wise, uh, in, in all the areas the
way you need ah, you staff support uh, for an association, a membership association. [Kenny]
As far as the future goes, Hall says the association will continue providing educational, marketing
and legislative resources to the industry. [Hall]
Uh, probably the biggest, associ, uh, biggest needs, or biggest concerns from growers, uh,
first is labor, particularly within the fruit and vegetable industry because they’ve got
so, there’s such a strong need for labor within the harvest, production and harvest. Ah, the other is regulatory. I mean we’re, we’re dealing with water regulations,
we’re dealing with EPA regulations, we’re dealing with labor regulations. Uh, and that’s, that’s one of the key, one
of the key, one of the biggest concerns. Uh, we’re involved with the, with the water
issues in, down on the Flint, uh, with that, with the work that’s going on from that standpoint. Uh, we’re dealing with EPA regulations that
are going that wha, uh, growers have to be faced with everyday. So, so, those are the, those are the big keys,
uh, that, that, that I think will, are the biggest, two of the biggest from that standpoint. Food safety is a major issue at this point
uh, as the new FISMA regu, regulations are coming out. Uh, and then you still got to sell that product,
so there’s marketing needs from that standpoint. [RAY]
ALL RIGHT KENNY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. IN OTHER AG NEWS… RANCHERS, LISTEN UP! SOON YOU’RE DAILY TASK OF ROUNDING UP THE
HERD OR HAULING STUFF TO THE FIELD COULD GET A LITTLE EASIER. SAY HELLO TO THE SWAG-BOT. THE ELECTRONIC COWBOY SO TO SPEAK IS PART
OF A FARM ROBOT TRIAL BY THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY AND THE AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR FIELD
ROBOTICS. NOT ONLY CAN IT ROUND UP CATTLE, BUT THE ROBOT
IT APPEARS TO HAVE A PRETTY DECENT TOWING CAPACITY. SO, THAT COULD CERTAINLY MAKE YOUR LIFESTYLE
A BIT EASIER. THE HOPE FOR SWAG-BOT IS TO EVENTUALLY USE
ROBOTS IN PLACES WHERE TRADITIONAL FARMERS AND RANCHERS ON HORSEBACK WOULD BE TOO DANGEROUS
OR REMOTE. RIGHT NOW, RESEARCHERS ARE ONLY TESTING SWAG-BOTS’
ABILITY TO HERD CATTLE, BUT WITHIN THE NEAR FUTURE THEY PLAN TO INSTALL MOTION SENSORS
AS WELL AS COLOR, TEMPERATURE AND SHAPE SENSORS THAT WOULD ALLOW SWAG-BOT TO IDENTIFY IF ANY
OF THE HERD IS SICK OR INJURED. THIS IN TURN WOULD ENABLE IT TO ALERT FARMERS
AND RANCHERS OF THE HEALTH OF THEIR ANIMALS. [RAY]
Now meantime, renowned for its agricultural programs, the University of Georgia helps
supply the state’s number one industry with the workforce, research, and advice needed
to keep things running smoothly. [KENNY]
And recently, the school’s president paid a visit to a number of farming operations
to get an up close look at how they are affecting the industry. Damon Jones has the story. [Albany, GA – Damon Jones, Reporting]
Leaders from both Atlanta and the University of Georgia recently got a firsthand look at
what farmers do on a daily basis as they took part in a joint farm tour across South Georgia. And that group included the UGA President
who realized just how important the school was to the Ag industry as soon as he stepped
into the job. [Gary Black – GA Agriculture Commissioner]
When President Morehead came into office we made a commitment and he made a commitment,
let’s make sure we spend some quality time out around the state to see first hand where
the university is making an impact on agriculture and agriculture businesses. [Jere Morehead – UGA President]
Well, this is the 4th year in a row that I’ve been part of an agricultural tour across the
state. And each and every year I just learn new things
not only about what the university does to support the agricultural industry, but how
critical that partnership is for the state of Georgia and for the future of the agricultural
industry. [Damon]
Besides learning new things, Morehead also gets a chance to see how valuable the University
of Georgia is the farmers as it helps them on a number of different fronts. [Morehead]
I mean I heard today stories of our students, stories about the research our professors
are doing, all of the work that is going on in cooperative extension, our small business
administration. I mean, so much of what is done at the University
of Georgia goes out across the state of Georgia and I think demonstrates the importance of
having a land grant institution that’s supporting the state. [Damon]
State government was also very well represented as both the Senate and House Ag Committee
Chairs were in attendance. It provided them a unique opportunity to not
only check out different operations but also speak with farmers in person about issues
that will affect the industry. [Sen. John Wilkinson – Chairman, Senate
Ag Committee] Well, you can hear about things, you know,
when we’re in session in Atlanta, a lot of the farmers come up and visit with us and
we have the opportunity to hear from them but there’s no substitute for actually going
to visit people, talking to them face to face and actually feeling the heat and being where
they are with the work they’re doing every day. So today has been a wonderful opportunity
to do that because Georgia has a very diverse agriculture and of course, this year we’re
kind of focusing on some of the things going on in South Georgia. [Damon]
This whole event was put on by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in an effort to
both show these state leaders to what happens on the farm and provide them with an opportunity
to network. It’s that sort of teamwork that keeps agriculture
in the state so strong. [Black]
I can tell you in many cases the communication between; we’re the envy really, from the standpoint
of being a really good example of why everybody is for agriculture. We know that it’s the number one economic
engine in the state. There’s a we attitude when it comes to Georgia
agriculture and I’m just delighted to be on a team where everybody says we. [Damon]
Reporting From Albany, I’m Damon Jones for the Georgia Farm Monitor. [RAY]
ALL RIGHT DAMON, GOOD JOB SIR. STILL TO COME ON THE MONITOR, RANGER NICK
INTRODUCES US TO TWO MEN WHOSE WORM BUSINESS JUST KEEPS ON GROWING AND GROWING. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOME QUALITY COMPOST
– YOU DEFINITELY WANT TO HEAR WHAT NICK HAS TO SAY. [KENNY]
BUT FIRST, ALL THAT CHECK-OFF MONEY PUT FORTH BY COTTON AND PEANUT GROWERS, HOW THOSE DOLLARS
ARE BEING SPENT? AND HOW IT’S BENEFITTING THOSE TWO CROPS. THAT’S NEXT WHEN THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR
CONTINUES. [Lynn Hooven – Consulting Forester]
My name is Lynn Hooven and I am a consultant Forester, and I go by the name Forest First
Consultants. A lot of people ask me where I came up with
a name like that, but my theory is the forest is more important than its owner. I worked 34 years for the Georgia Forestry
Commission and I was management chief, and had a wonderful career, and I am one of the
few people I think that has had a opportunity to go through that 34 years and then you can
graduate as I call it. You graduate from that and now I am out in
the country here in Jones County on a 1,500-acre farm. So I probably have the biggest office anybody
has ever had, 1,500 acres. People have to remember that the value of
the forest is worth nothing if you don’t have someone to harvest it. We have had a timber harvest on this farm
every single year since 2002 and I have one scheduled all the way to 2026. We don’t do any total harvest, we thin from
within and always taking the worst and leaving the best. Like regular farmers with row crops you have
to be an optimistic person and you have to be patient because growing trees is a 20 to
30 to 40 year process. In a lot of the foreign countries they do
not have a problem with harvesting a tree and then replanting for grandchildren, and
so we got accustomed to short rotations, and we get accustomed to wanting our money quick. That doesn’t happen in trees, but somebody
will reap the benefit generations down the road. [KENNY]
Georgia peanut and cotton producers fund many different research projects that advance these
2 important Georgia commodities. Every year the Georgia Cotton Commission,
and the Georgia Peanut Commission invest grower dollars that bring big returns for farmers
and consumers. The Monitor’s Mark Wildman has the report. [Tift County, GA – Mark Wildman, Reporting]
Georgia peanuts and Georgia cotton are very important to the states economy and these
2 commodities are very important to the farmers that grow them and to the small rural communities
that surround many Georgia farms. Here in Tifton, research is being conducted
that will keep these commodities growing for generations to come. Recently at a field day growers got to see
just how research dollars are spent to advance cotton and peanuts. [Dr. Scott Monfort – UGA Peanut Agronomist]
To me this is an open ended mix of information because we are providing some of the results,
some of the things that we are working on, but it also kind of spawns conversation where
growers may bring up ideas that we have not been dealing with or they have issues that
we need to deal with so that we can add them into our research and extension programs in
the near future. So I think it is a 2 way street, I think we
enjoy this cooperative effort between the 2 commissions, because a lot of those same
growers grow both crops and so I think it is a good thing. I really do enjoy the reaction and interaction
with the growers and the industry folks so that we can kind of keep moving these 2 crops
forward. [Wildman]
Row after row of peanuts are planted alongside cotton fields to help learn how to grow better
crops more efficiently. [Monfort]
We are looking at planting date, harvest date, we are looking at row spacing, we are looking
at a lot of varieties to see which one might work in this area versus another. That is just in agronomics, we also have all
of the Entomologist work that is going on looking at insect problems. We are looking at plant pathology, which is
a big problem in peanut. You know the breeding effort is show cased
here today. That is a tremendous thing because peanut
is still one of the only row crops that is bred in the University system still. [Wildman]
Dr. Bob Kemerait is a UGA plant Pathologist and he conducts research here in Tifton to
fight diseases that can get a strong hold on crops. One of those diseases in cotton is called
Bacterial Blight and is a widespread problem in many fields around the state. [Dr. Bob Kemerait – UGA Plant Pathologist]
Bacterial Blight is caused, obviously by a bacteria, it is caused by the Xanthomonas
bacteria, and it causes very diagnostic leaf spots that are constricted or delimited by
the vein. It is called Bacterial Blight because the
bacteria in there cant get around the leaf walls or the cell walls so you see a geometric
shapes, angular shape, from there it could go internally it could go in the veins but
it could also cause a boll rot. [Wildman]
Of course if left untreated this disease can hurt a farms bottom line. [Kemerait]
If it remains strictly apart of the leaves, restricted to the leaves themselves, it could
cause premature defoliation and in the most severe cases we are probably talking about
a ten percent yield loss depending upon when the disease comes in. However, if it spreads to the bolls and the
boll rot is associated with it are losses can get more, maybe 25 percent. [Wildman]
Cotton and peanut research here in Tifton and other parts of the State depends greatly
on funding from the Georgia Peanut Commission and the Georgia Cotton Commission. In Tift County, I’m Mark Wildman for the Georgia
Farm Monitor. [RAY]
Thank you, Mark. The Georgia Farm Bureau recently kicked off
their annual district meetings in Americus. Besides all the food and fellowship, it also
provided the organization a chance to recognize the counties for all the good work they do
through out the year to support the ag industry. It’s a mission GFB President Gerald Long knows
is the cornerstone of the company. [Gerald Long – GFB President]
You know, our organization was founded by farmers and remains focused on supporting
farmers and our agricultural communities across our state. We know that farmers are our core group. They are what we are here for. And we know that only farmers can vote and
hold office in Georgia Farm Bureau. [RAY]
NOW THIS IS THE FIRST OF TEN DISTRICT MEETINGS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE ALL THROUGHOUT THE STATE. WHEN WE COME BACK. SURE! THEY’RE NOT THE PRETTIEST THINGS TO LOOK AT. BUT THE SOIL THESE WORMS PRODUCE IS SOME OF
THE BEST! RANGER NICK INTRODUCES US TO TWO MEN WHOSE
GEORGIA WORM FARM IS GETTING BIGGER BY THE DAY. STAY TUNED. [Milan UT AgResearch Center – Charles Denney,
Reporting] Assembly line precision – scoop, fill and
seal. And when you’ve packed 36 of these, that’s
enough to complete a … “Box!” ‘Farmers versus Hunger’ is an effort by the
people charged to grow our food. Here producers and volunteers put meal packets
together at the Milan No-Till field day at the UT AgResearch Center in Gibson County. Carroll County farmer Jeremy Fowler says giving
your time is a great lesson to teach his kids. “How many of these have you made? A bunch.” [Jeremy Fowler – Tennessee Producer]
“Any time you can give back to the community that’s always worth the effort. Somebody’s helped us along the way. We feel like we ought to try to give back
every chance we can.” [Denney]
The nutritious meal here is made from something these producers grow a lot of – soybeans
– Tennessee’s top row crop. [Dr. Blake Brown – UT AgResearch]
“It’s a program where we come in and we package a macaroni and cheese based meal that has
a soy protein. So having that protein gives it a little extra
kick for those that are going to utilize it. It will hang with you a little better.” [Charles Denney – UT Institute of Agriculture]
“The Milan community has always had a strong, proud connection to this field day and this
AgResearch center. And the food packed here today will go to
several local charitable organizations.” [Denney]
Just down the road, Pat Ward operates “The Mustard Seed.” Hunger isn’t just an urban issue. This food pantry serves a town of some 8,000
and stays busy. Seventeen percent of all Tennesseans are food
insecure, including a quarter of our children. Ward will put the donated meals in boxes for
families, and cook and serve many as well. [Pat Ward – “The Mustard Seed”]
“Oh, we most certainly will. We’ll be able to use them as a supplement
in our soup kitchen, cook them as the carbohydrate entrée for the day in addition to the other
items that we serve.” [Denney]
By day’s end, volunteers packed nearly 28-thousand meals, and several more thousand will be delivered
within a week to local charities. Here farmers go beyond planting and harvesting
– caring for their crops, but also the people nourished by them. This is Charles Denney reporting. [KENNY]
FINALLY TODAY, WHEN IT COMES TO AGRICULTURE BOTH LARGE AND SMALL, BOTTOM LINE – USING
THE BEST SOIL POSSIBLE TO PLANT WHATEVER YOU’RE GROWING IS A MUST IF YOU WANT SATISFACTORY
RESULTS. [RAY]
YEAH, RANGER NICK FOUND A GREAT SOURCE OF THAT SOIL, BUT IT SOULD BE NOTED THAT IT TOOK
SOME DIGGING AROUND FOR HIM TO FIND IT. [Dr. Nick Fuhrman – UGA Associate Professor,
“Ranger Nick”] Hey everybody. I got caught again. I get caught over and over. Caught in rainstorms. And as I look down at the ground you notice
all those little wiggly worms all over the place. Would you believe that I’m standing in a room
today full of thousands of worms. Each one of these bins is full of 1500 of
those guys. We’re gonna introduce you to two gentlemen
that saw those wiggly worms and decided to make a business out of it to help farmers
and urban agriculturalists all over the country. I can’t wait to show you more about this. So, I’m joined today by Mr. Morris and Mr.
Lee over here at Winterville worms. Mr. Morris tell me, we’re looking at a pile
of soil here on a workbench. What did you used to do together with a piles
of soil like this? [Morris Sapp/Winterville, Worms]
Well, about two years ago we started a warm business called Winterville worms. And we wanted to be able to contribute to
the agricultural community to put in good, to help to increase better soil. And so, we started raising red wigglers. The pile here is full red wigglers. We turn the bin upside down because we want
the worms to migrate to the bottom. And the light pushes them down to the bottom
because they don’t like the light. And, this gives us an opportunity to begin
to rake off what is known as castings. And that’s the fertilizer that really helps
to build the soil and make for great plants and great organic fertilizer. [Ranger Nick]
That’s worm poop, is that what that is? [Morris Sapp]
That’s what that is. Yes, that’s what it is. Worm poop. And, we would slowly pull it off and push
it to the side and eventually we would get down to the worms and then we would separate
the worms from all the casting and then we would take the castings dry it out and put
the worms in new bedding and start over. And that’s how the production of it got started. [Ranger Nick]
So this is kind of like a nursery. All right, Mr. Lee. You guys both would sit at this very bench
about two years ago and do just what we’re doing right now. How did we get from this little pile of soil
and worms to this room where I’m surrounded by, you guys say “millions” of red wigglers. How did that happen? [Lee McNeil/Winterville Worms]
Well, red wigglers are very prolific and they reproduce rapidly. As a matter of fact, about every 4 to 6 weeks
they will double in population. They lay eggs every day. A mature one does. That’s
16 weeks on. And each egg will have from 5 to 7 baby worms
in it. And so, you are reproducing really rapidly. And as they do that, ya know we started out
with 5-thousand worms. Just 5 pounds of worms. There’s about 1000 worms per pound. We started out with 5000 worms and so the
next month we had 10,000 worms. And the month after that we had 20,000 worms. And the month after 40 and then 80 and then
160 and then 320. You can see where that’s gonna go. And in no time we were out of space. And we had to start creating room for these
worms. And that’s how we started building the shelves
and making the isles down here. [Ranger Nick]
That’s incredible. We’re gonna talk about how this thing went
from this room to outside right now. Alright, So Mr. Lee, We’re back outside. From the nursery, back outside to one of these
hoop houses. And I’m pulling this back and just look at
the richness. Look at the worms everywhere. Why is it that I have this sudden inkling
for coffee. I smell coffee. What are these guys bedded in? [Lee McNeil]
They’re bedded in, They’re bedded in peat moss. But, we feed them every week a mixture of
jittery Joe’s used coffee grounds. And the corn powder and chicken crumbles and
we spread it over the bed every week, and give a little bit of water to keep it damp
and that, that’s what they supplement their diet with. But, they basically eat the bedding material. We supplement their diet with those other
things. [Ranger Nick]
And then, as these worms are eating and they’re digesting that material, we want to get to
figure out how those castings come about in just a second. So, let’s go see what that’s about. [Ranger Nick]
Alright, so we’re at the worm disco. I mean, check this thing out. It’s a tumbler. Guys, this is a business. How are we getting from this worm disco over
here to this bag of worm castings? [Lee McNeil]
Alright, what we do is we take the material from the bed. That’s got worms in it, it’s got the castings
in it. We bring it in here, we feed it into the end
of the tumbler. The tumbler’s an 8th-inch screen at that end. Quarter-inch on this end. The castings come out the 8th inch screen. The worms move down to the end and come out
the last couple of feet down here. And that way we can either take the worms
and re-bed them or put them up for sale. We gather the castings. We bag the castings for sale. Or, we put them in piles for people who buy
in volume. [Ranger Nick]
it’s just, it’s amazing to have a pile of worms that they can use for fishing. Sell the bag of worm poop, the castings. Amazing! Guys,
thank you all so much for hanging out with me today. I really, really appreciate you all. Wish you all the best. This is wonderful and a blast. [Ranger Nick]
Man, from starting in the nursery were the worms grow, up to the worm disco and all the
things that we learned about today with these little red wigglers I have had a blast. I hope that this show’s got you feeling worm
and fuzzy inside. For the Farm Monitor, I’m Ranger Nick. You know the deal, check us out on Facebook. Like my page on Facebook. While you’re there, check out the Georgia
Farm Monitor page and like that. And until next time, remember enthusiasms
contagious, so pass it on. Have a great rest of the month and we’ll see
you again next time. See ya. [RAY]
ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU NICK. THAT IS GONNA DO IT FOR THIS WEEKS EDITION
OF THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
HERE’S A 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 THE FARM MONITOR SHOW. [RAY]
TAKE CARE AND WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, RIGHT HERE ON THE GEORGIA FARM MONITOR. [KENNY]
HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

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