MACON, Ga. – Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 84th annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they completed this past year to promote agriculture.
“We’re proud of the work all of our volunteer members do on our behalf, and we congratulate the individual award winners, county volunteers and staff who won state awards,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “Georgia Farm Bureau’s volunteer activities include reading to students in local schools, providing teachers with resources to implement farm-centered lesson plans and working with elected officials at all levels to make sure farmers’ contributions and needs are known.”
GFB named a McKemie Award winner – the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member programs – from each of its three membership categories. Crawford County Farm Bureau, whose president is Wayne McInvale, received the McKemie Award for the small membership category. Decatur County Farm Bureau, whose president is Justin Long, won the McKemie Award for the medium membership category. Cherokee County Farm Bureau, whose president is William Grizzle, received the award in the large membership category. The McKemie Award is a memorial to former GFB President W.J. McKemie.
Finalists for the McKemie competition, listed alphabetically, in the small membership category were: Bacon, Heard, Jasper, Johnson, Macon, Treutlen, Turner and Upson counties. Finalists in the medium membership category were: Banks, Berrien, Evans, Greene, Jeff Davis, Monroe, Morgan, Pike and Screven counties. Finalists in the large membership category were: Cobb, Franklin, North Fulton, Habersham, Henry, Madison, McDuffie, Newton and Stephens counties.
Other state awards presented were the: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by McDuffie County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Newton County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Cherokee County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Franklin County Farm Bureau.
Kim-Cora Kay, the McDuffie County Farm Bureau (BCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Kay, who has worked as MCFB office manager since 2019, was recognized for the work she has done to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Kay is responsible for coordinating MCFB’s agricultural advocacy and Ag in the Classroom activities throughout the year.
Natalie Murray, a teacher in Douglas County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2021 Teacher of the Year Award. Murray, who teaches music to kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Mirror Lake Elementary School, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives and guiding students through planting, tending and harvesting of the school’s raised-bed garden. She received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York,
Doyle Lamb of Turner County won the 2022 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. Samples of hay entered in the contest were tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and the likeliness livestock will eat the hay. Lamb’s winning Russell hay had an RFQ rating of 151. He won the free use of a Vermeer 604R Baler for one year, courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company, with the option to purchase the mower at a reduced price at the end of the year.
GFB also recognized its Young Farmers & Ranchers competitive event winners, who were announced during the YF&R Summer Leadership Conference in July. The YF&R winners are: Steven and Tara Green of Spalding County, who won the GFB 2021 YF&R Achievement Award; Jessica Lance of Morgan County, who won the 2021 GFB YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award; and Cleve Jackson of Floyd County, who won the 2021 YF&R Discussion Meet.
–Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau