2016 Ag Man, Woman of the Year honored

Published 5:15 pm Friday, November 4, 2016

Robert Cohen and Emma Jean Bell received awards in front of fellow farmers and community members Friday as they were honored as the 2016 Ag Man and Woman of the Year.

The two were honored at the 2016 Ag Appreciation Luncheon at the Cloud Livestock Facility, an annual event hosted by the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce for people in the local agriculture industry.

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Bainbridge High School senior Heath Parker received the annual Chamber/Mitchell May Ag Scholarship.

Georgia Farm Bureau president and Decatur County farmer Jerry Long spoke to the crowd about the history of the Farm Bureau and a few issues Georgia agriculture is facing.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are in agriculture or agribusinesses, this region is so important to be part of an organization that represents rural Georgia and rural America,” Long said about Farm Bureau.

Long brought up the use of Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption (GATE) cards, and how a controversy on their misuse has been going on for a few years. The cards exempt farmers from having to pay taxes on equipment for farm use.

“Our organization is stressing to be sure we use them the way it was designed. The Georgia legislature was so nice to give us opportunity to use this. We need to monitor it. There will be audits throughout the countryside as the Georgia Department of Agriculture has hired five auditors.”

Long stressed that the GDoA was approaching it more as a chance to educate card holders rather than cracking down hard for noncompliance.

“I believe any organization you are a part of, no matter what industry you are in, I think you need to give back to it,” Long said. “I feel like I owe it to this organization to serve because I have dedicated my life to agriculture. We know it is a very important part of our economy.”

Long finished by applauding Woodrow Long, teacher Tommy Wheeler and John Bridges for the influence they have had on him as a farmer.