Pecan Crop Looking Good

Tropical Storm Irma knocked down pecan trees, broke tree limbs and blew nuts off the trees and out of their shucks when it moved through Georgia in September, but a local pecan expert is still optimistic about this year’s crop, estimating yields up to 100 million pounds. Lenny Wells, pecan specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Tifton, says the pecan harvest is well underway and farmers are taking advantage of dry weather and good prices. As a result, the pecan market softened in recent weeks, but Wells doesn’t expect the price to stay low for long. “We often see this trend when the nuts really start rolling in every year. The last several years, the price bumped back up again after a couple of weeks as many growers started holding pecans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen again,” Wells says. The crop’s development was ahead of schedule by about 10 days this year. All varieties are currently being harvested, and because of the early timing of nut maturity, Wells expects most of this year’s harvest to be completed by early December. Before pecans fully mature, they are enclosed in a green shuck, or husk. When Tropical Storm Irma moved through on Sept. 11, a lot of those immature pecans were knocked to the ground, rendering them useless.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Golden Radish Award: Tift Schools Named Outstanding for Farm to School

The Tift County School System has been given the “Outstanding District” Golden Radish Award, the highest level of recognition in the state for farm-to-school programs. Tift County’s School Nutrition Department’s mission is to expose, educate and elevate the quality of meals served to 7,600 students in the district’s 12 schools.  Its initiative is recognized as one of the state’s most innovative programs focused on agricultural and nutrition education, supporting local farmers and getting students excited to eat healthy and fresh local foods.  Tift County Schools was also recognized at the Platinum level for its accomplishments during the last school year, which include: (1) The School Nutrition Department purchased a cow from a student and had it processed by a local community partner. The meat provided meals for four days to more than 300 students at Omega Elementary, (2) The district supports a 15-acre farm where students learn how to plant, maintain and glean crops on a larger scale. Students also learn how to extend the life of their harvest at the county’s state of the art canning facility maintained by an FFA instructor ns (3) Local farmer Len Lastinger taught students how to harvest eggs from the schools’ laying hens. The corresponding omelet taste test was a big hit. Georgia’s agriculture, education and public health departments, along with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics representatives joined at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta to celebrate more than 40 percent of Georgia school districts with farm to school programs. Pictured is Ga. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, from left, Georgia Organics Director Alice Rolls, Tift Superintendent Patrick Atwater, Tift School Nutrition Director Vanessa Hayes, Ga. Health Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal, UGA Extension Dean Laura Perry Johnson and state School Superintendent Richard Woods at the Atlanta ceremony.
Source: Tifton Grapevine

Nominations Open for Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award

Nominations are now open for the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer. The state winner will be announced at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Tifton, Georgia. The award is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF. The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award is based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership, civic, church, and community service activities. “We have so many young peanut farmers making a difference in their communities and I consider this awards program a great opportunity to recognize one young peanut farmer for their contributions to the agricultural industry,” says Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. The award is open for any active Georgia peanut farmer who is not over 45 years of age, as of Jan. 18, 2018. An individual may receive the award only once. There is no limit on the number of applicants from each county in Georgia. “BASF is honored to be a sponsor of the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award,” says Dan Watts, district manager of BASF Crop Protection Products. “We are committed to agriculture and bringing new innovative solutions to producers that will allow them to continue to be successful.” Applications are due to the GPC office by Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The award application is available online at www.gapeanuts.com or by contacting Joy Crosby at 229-386-3690 or joycrosby@gapeanuts.com. Previous Georgia winners include Brandon Branch of Baxley, Trey Dunaway of Hawkinsville, Andrew Grimes of Tifton, Randy Branch of Baxley, James Hitchcock Jr. of Tennille, Brad Thompson of Donalsonville, Greg Mims of Donalsonville, Jim Waters of Blackshear and Jimmy Webb of Leary, Georgia. The award winner receives registration and hotel accommodations to attend the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July and a sign to display at his or her farm.

42nd annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show set for Jan. 18, 2018 in Tifton

Make plans to attend the 42nd annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. The one-day show is free and open to all farmers and industry representatives to attend. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with more than 100 agribusinesses and organizations in the peanut and agricultural industry. Farmers will be able to earn private and commercial pesticide applicator certification, as well as learn about cutting-edge research and developments during the University of Georgia Peanut Production Seminar and industry-wide sponsored Peanut Seed Seminar. Farm Show chairman Rodney Dawson is looking forward to the 2018 show and having a large crowd of farmers attend like previous years. “I encourage farmers to attend this one-day show in Tifton,” Dawson said. “The knowledge they will gain from industry representatives and seminars is an investment in the future of their farm.” The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with OneBlood, will host a blood drive from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. during the show. At the close of the day, there will be nearly $10,000 in door prizes presented to farmers, as well as a Grand Door Prize, vendor products, certificates and equipment. For more information on the show, contact the Georgia Peanut Commission office at 229-386-3470. Information is also available online at www.gapeanuts.com.

Tiftarea Academy Shotgun Team Members Compete in Championship

Tiftarea Academy is excited to announce that two of their shotgun team members, Ambus Powell and Ty Haskins, competed in the Alabama State Sporting Clays Championship near Mobile recently.
Ty competed in E class winning the Main Event and placing second in The Super Sporting event. His winnings earned him D class levels in future events. Ambus competed in A class winning the Main Event, Preliminary Event, and Super Sporting event. He was also the highest scoring Sub-Junior in the Main Event. His winnings earned him AA class status. Both of the boys parents are all Worth County Ram Alumni! This was an individual competition, but they represented TA very well! Be sure to follow Tiftarea Academy on Facebook to keep up with the Shotgun Team.

Truck & Tractor Pull Sept. 21-23

Trucks and tractors of all shapes and sizes will rev their engines and roar down the track Sept. 21-23 at the AET Truck and Tractor Pull sponsored by the Agricultural Engineering Technology Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. On Sept. 21, ABAC students and the community can participate in the amateur night beginning at 7 p.m. Participants may enter their vehicles in the event for fee. Gates will open at 6 p.m. On Sept. 22-23, the Southern Pullers Association will provide the show featuring professional pullers. On Sept. 22, gates will open at 6 p.m., and pulling will start at 7 p.m. On Sept. 23, the gates open at 5 p.m., and pulling will start at 6 p.m. For information, contact AET club advisors Ray Lundy at rlundy@abac.edu or Todd Hicks at thicks@abac.edu.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Georgia Peanut Commission to dedicate education center Sept. 6

The Georgia Peanut Commission plans to host a dedication of the commission’s education center on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 4:30 p.m., at the GPC office in Tifton. The GPC office is located at 445 Fulwood Blvd. Tifton, GA 31794. Members of the public are invited to attend. “We are proud of our education center and the opportunities it provides visitors to learn more about Georgia peanuts,” Tim Burch, GPC board member and peanut farmer from Baker County said. “Visitors can learn everything from production, to economics, to global impact; all important aspects of Georgia’s official state crop.” The new education center features interactive touchscreen monitors with peanut-specific activities and games, self-guided exhibits related to the peanut business, global implications, how peanuts grow and are harvested, as well as an eight minute video of peanut production from land prep to harvest viewable in 3-D format. Additionally, a live peanut plant exhibit is set up to allow visitors to see a peanut plant growing. Not only can visitors see the stems and leaves, the exhibit also showcases the roots and pegs forming underground through tempered glass. Furthermore, the education center features the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame portraits. Members of the Hall of Fame are recipients of the highest award given by GPC and have demonstrated leadership and stimulation of peanut industry growth, development, research and education. The center’s newest addition includes hand-painted murals by local artist, Jill Whitley. The murals depict peanut production in South Georgia and feature peanut industry agribusinesses.  The Georgia Peanut Commission education center has been made possible through industry support and Georgia peanut farmers. The GPC board of directors invites everyone to attend the dedication event and celebrate the commission’s efforts to educate others about Georgia peanuts. For more information about the programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit www.gapeanuts.com.

Scott Speaks in his Home Town

Recently Representative Austin Scott had the opportunity to be back at home. He met with and spoke to the Tifton Rotary Club on issues and concerns important to the community. He appreciated the good conversation and company, and thanked them for sharing their thoughts and concerns with him.