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Farm Bureau members visit Gold Dome for GFB Day at the Capitol
GFB Day at the Capitol 2016
Effingham County Farm Bureau President Stuart Exley, far right, meets with state Reps. Bill Hitchens and Jon Burns, along with ECFB Young Farmer Chairman, Sam Ingram and ECFB office manager Becky Fields during Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol. - photo by Photo provided

MACON—Effingham County Farm Bureau members traveled to Atlanta on Feb. 4 to participate in Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol.

While at the capitol, members of the Effingham County Farm Bureau delegation visited with state Rep. Jon Burns, state Rep. Bill Hitchens and state Sen. Jack Hill. Members of the Effingham County Farm Bureau who attended the event included: ECFB President Stuart Exley, ECFB Office Manager Becky Fields and ECFB Young Farmer Chairman Sam Ingram.

The Effingham County delegation was among the Farm Bureau members from across the state to participate in the event. Participants were encouraged to raise legislators’ awareness of GFB’s 2016 priority issues — animal agriculture, water, state tax and budget matters.

“Today is your opportunity to talk to your legislators and let them know what you think,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “As you talk to your elected officials, be sure to thank them for their help and tell them about our priority issues, not just today but when you see them on the streets back home.”

Long addressed both the House and Senate, thanking the members of both chambers for the work they do on behalf of Georgia farmers and asking them to continue their support of Georgia agriculture.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke at the lunch GFB held at the Georgia Freight Depot attended by more than 500 GFB members and state officials.

Deal said his proposed budget includes an additional $1 million in funding for the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) to renovate state farmers markets and replace about 25 cars used by GDA employees who travel across the state with their jobs.

“As we see an evolution in how people think about their food and the way they get it, farmers markets are becoming more vital,” Deal said.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black asked county Farm Bureaus to encourage their local school boards to participate in the 20/20 Vision program the GDA is working on with the Georgia Department of Education. Black said the program aims to see that all meals served in school cafeterias include at least 20 percent Georgia Grown commodities.

“Being in schools is second nature to county Farm Bureaus with your Ag in the Classroom programs,” Black said. “It’s not going to be about the Georgia Department of Agriculture or Department of Education telling schools what to do, but it’s about all county groups encouraging local school boards to participate in this program.”