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Posted: January 28, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Reps. Holt, Dickerson spend day at local farm

State Reps. Doug Holt and Pam Dickerson visited a local farm last month as part of a workplace exchange.

In return, farmer Chuck Berry will shadow Rep. Dickerson for a day at the Capitol in Atlanta.

The exchange is designed to foster a better understanding and appreciation between the lawmakers and farmers, while helping them to build personal relationships.

Each year, the Newton County Farm Bureau Legislative Committee works hard to stay on top of agriculture-related issues. The committee started off the year with the idea of forming relationships with local, state, and national lawmakers. This approach will give Farm Bureau members the opportunity to educate elected officials on issues that may affect agriculture. Last May, the committee spent the day with Congressman Hank Johnson at a local cattle operation. The committee decided to invite Reps. Hol and Dickerson to visit another local farm.

Berry volunteered to have the representatives join him for a day at his farm, Berry’s Tree Farm. The committee sent letters to both lawmakers and received immediate affirmative responses. The committee then began working on a more specific agenda and decided to make the day a hands-on experience for Holt and Dickerson.

During the day, the guests toured the farm with local students; sorted, priced, and tagged Christmas trees; and dug and wrapped trees to be replanted. The hands-on approach gave the lawmakers a behind-the-scenes look at the tree farm’s operations.

Legislative Chairman Julius Hays was able to build a relationship with and speak to both representatives about agriculture-related issues.

The Farm Bureau considered the event a success and plans to continue its efforts to educate elected officials about what agriculture is and how it affects Newton County.

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