Farm Bureau president visits Bainbridge

Published 6:01 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Decatur County Farm Bureau Board of Directors is: front row, left to right, Bobby Davis, Paul Johnson, Jerry Long, Zippy Duvall (Georgia Farm Bureau President), Andy Bell, Steve Brock, Ricky Smith and Justin Long; back row, left to right, Alan Davis, Bobby Barber, Matt Johnson, Kevin Rentz, Stuart Griffin, Gary Wooten, Charles Lane, Kim Rentz and Glenn Heard.

Zippy Duvall, president of Georgia Farm Bureau, recently visited and had lunch with the Decatur County Farm Bureau board of directors in Bainbridge.

Duvall, a chicken, hay, and cattle farmer from Greensboro, Ga., in Greene County, will finish up his third two-year term in December as head of Georgia’s largest and most prominent farm organization.

Bainbridge’s Jerry Long, a member of the Decatur County Farm Bureau’s board of directors, is first vice president of Georgia Farm Bureau.

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Before eating lunch of Georgia-raised Catfish and deep-fried T-bone steaks, Duvall gave his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing Georgia and Decatur County farmers.

“Nationally, regulation and the farm bill are the two big topics,” Duvall said. “Whether or not we get a farm bill is more critical to southern agriculture than in other parts of the country. From what we have seen, we have been disappointed on the [United States] Senate side and a little more encouraged on the House [of Representatives] side. But neither side offers anywhere near what we had.

“We’re ready to get the election done and let the legislators get back to work so we can get something done.”

The current five-year farm bill, legislation that sets national agriculture policy, expires at the end of September. Legislators, acting along party lines, from both the House and Senate have been unable to agree on the terms of the new legislation.

“Whether its an extension of the current bill or a new bill, they just need to get moving on something so our farmers can do some planning and know where they stand,” Duvall said.

On the state level, Duvall indicated that immigration and water issues are top of mind with anyone associated with agriculture.

Agriculture is the largest economic engine in Decatur County and statewide. Duvall indicated that agriculture does and should play an integral role in economic development.

“Ever since I have been president, I talk about bringing industries here and how the farming community can help.” Duvall said. “What if we just took the products that we grow and just further processed them here in our state? Think about what that would do the economy and what that would do to unemployment?”

Further, Duvall indicated that, as a state organization, Georgia Farm Bureau encourages its members to get involved in the community, to serve on volunteer boards, and take an active role in improving the community.

“My daddy always told me that if you are concerned about what’s affecting your farm, you got to get outside your fence rows and get involved,” he said.