Georgia Farm Bureau Present State Awards
Friday, December 10th, 2010
Georgia Farm Bureau recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during an awards program held Dec. 5, at the GFB 72nd Annual Convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they conducted this past year to promote agriculture.
“Our county volunteers work throughout the year in their communities to educate their neighbors about Georgia agriculture by hosting farm tours and ag days for students, hosting legislative breakfasts and meet-the-candidate forums, and numerous other activities that highlight the contributions farming makes to our state economy and daily lives. I would like to thank all of our county volunteers for the effort they made during the past year to promote agriculture,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “During our convention we like to recognize our outstanding county programs and volunteers who went above and beyond during the past year to promote agriculture.”
Georgia Farm Bureau named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county in recognition of its outstanding member programs - from each of its three membership categories. Pike County Farm Bureau received the McKemie Award for the 0 to 1,800-member division. Tom Lacey is president of the Pike County Farm Bureau. Greene County Farm Bureau won the McKemie Award for the 1,801 to 3,000-member division. Dene Channell is president of the Greene County Farm Bureau. Newton County received the award in the 3,001 plus-member division. Brent Galloway is president of the Newton County Farm Bureau. The McKemie Award is a memorial to one of the organization’s former presidents, W.J. McKemie.
Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the 0 to 1,800-member division were: Bacon, Cook, Heard, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Monroe, Upson and Wilcox counties. Finalists for the 1,801 to 3,000-member division were: Berrien, Bibb, Floyd, Harris, Jones, Polk, Spalding, Stephens and Washington counties. Finalists in the 3,001 plus-member division were: Barrow, Chattooga, Cherokee, Coweta, Emanuel, Habersham, Henry, McDuffie and Madison counties.
The Georgia Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award was presented to Bob and Betty Nash of Upson County. This award is the highest honor Georgia Farm Bureau gives to its volunteer leaders and is designed to recognize volunteer Farm Bureau leaders who have made an outstanding contribution to Farm Bureau and agriculture over a long period of time.
“Bob Nash was serving as Georgia Farm Bureau president when my wife Bonnie and I first became involved with Farm Bureau as young farmers. Bob and Mrs. Betty are the gold standard every farm couple should strive to be,” Duvall said. “The Nashes have worked side by side to promote agriculture for the 63 years they have been married serving on the county, district and national level of Farm Bureau, working to establish the Georgia Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations and supporting 4-H and FFA. Georgia Farm Bureau prides itself on being a grassroots organization, and the Nashes are the perfect example of this concept in action.”
Both of the Nashes grew up on farms in Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma A&M. When they moved to Georgia in 1957, the couple became active Farm Bureau members. Mr. Nash has served as a county director for the Coweta, Lamar and Upson County Farm Bureaus and is a past president of the Lamar and Upson Farm Bureaus. He served as a Georgia Farm Bureau district director from 1974 to 1978 and as Georgia Farm Bureau president from 1978 until 1988. As GFB president one of his biggest concerns was membership - both improving member services and increasing membership. He was instrumental in the development and building of GFB’s current state office in Macon and worked to expand the organization’s commodity department. He served on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors for 10 years and participated in AFBF trade trips to Japan, China, Switzerland and England. He served on the U.S. Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee on Trade for Poultry and Eggs from 1981 to 1988 at the appointment of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture John Block.
In addition to their Farm Bureau activities, the Nashes have held various leadership positions in the Georgia Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations and numerous cattle and livestock organizations. They have served as 4-H volunteer leaders for 52 years and opened their farm to
numerous 4-H and FFA events. The Nashes are members of the Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce and last year the organization presented the couple the Thomaston-Upson Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award. They have each received numerous awards for their volunteer service, some of which include: Georgia Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame, Georgia CattleWoman of the year, American National CattleWomen’s Educator Award and Progressive Farmer Magazine’s Man of the Year in Service to Georgia Agriculture.
The Nashes are members of Barnesville First Methodist Church where they have both held numerous administrative positions and Mrs. Nash taught Sunday school for many years. The Nashes have three children: daughter, Cynthia and son-in-law, Steve Nash of The Rock, son Clifford and daughter-in-law Laverne Nash of Moultrie and son Charles and daughter-in-law Alexis Nash of Chicago, seven grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren and step great-grandchildren. The couple own Nash Cattle Farm located at The Rock, Ga., where they raise commercial cattle and co-operate D&N Livestock Services, Inc. with their daughter and son-in-law.
Steven and Tiffany Metcalf of Turner County were named the Young Farmer Achievement winners. The Metcalfs grow cotton, peanuts, soybeans and wheat on their farm near Ashburn, Ga., and have a small commercial cattle herd. Steven chairs the Turner County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee and Tiffany, a fifth grade teacher, has worked to educate local students about agriculture. The Metcalfs will compete for national honors at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Atlanta, Jan. 9-12. The Metcalfs have two children, Graham and Halle. They received a $500 cash prize from Dodge Truck and a year’s use of a Kubota tractor for being named the state winner.
Other finalists in the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest were Stuart and Lauren Boykin of Screven County and Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County. The Boykins grow cotton, peanuts and soybeans. The Ogletrees farm in partnership with Brian’s father, continuing a 75-year family farm that produces brown-top millet, wheat, straw-mulch, grass-fed beef and includes a seed cleaning operation.
Jonathan Fordham of Bleckley County won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet and will compete for national honors at the AFBF Convention Jan. 9-12 in Atlanta. Other finalists included Christy Bryan of Chattooga County, Jessica Bryant of Jackson County and Will Godowns of Pike County. During the discussion meet, the contestants discussed the topic “How do we encourage other agricultural groups to work together for the common good of our industry?”
Fordham received a $500 cash award courtesy of Dodge Truck and an Arctic Cat 500 all terrain vehicle. The three finalists each received a $350 cash award from SunTrust Bank. Fordham, who is chairman of the Bleckley County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, raises cattle and is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. He earned an associate degree in ag engineering technology from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and an associate degree in early childhood education from Middle Georgia College. He and his wife Deananne live in Chester with their three sons: J.R., James and Jett. The family attends Salem Baptist Church.
Other state awards presented included: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by the Cherokee County Farm Bureau and the Outstanding Legislative Award, Outstanding Women’s Committee and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee, all received by the Newton County Farm Bureau.
Susanne Bell, Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Secretary Award. Bell was recognized for her professionalism and for her work to promote the goals of Farm Bureau. She has been employed with the Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau seven years. A native of Conyers, Bell has an associate degree in business administration from Georgia Perimeter College.
Founded in 1937, the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization. The organization has 158 county chapters. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors. GFB also has 20 commodity advisory committees that give the organization input on issues pertinent to the major commodities grown in Georgia.