The Newton County Farm Bureau, an extension of the Georgia Farm Bureau, serves the community by promoting local agriculture to its residents through related activities and events.
The non-profit organization is primarily focused to promote agriculture locally, which is the largest industry in Georgia.
Highly active within Newton County, volunteers from the organization participate in 4-H events and host the ‘Ag in the Classroom’ program to bring further education to a number of middle schools and elementary schools.
In addition to aiding 4-H, the Newton County Farm Bureau also works with the county’s Extension Office in agricultural events and programs and also offers assistance in drafting legislation for the county. The Farm Bureau acts as representatives for farmers in the legislative area.
According to the Georgia Farm Bureau website, “A member of a county Farm Bureau automatically becomes affiliated with the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation.”
Members also enjoy a variety of benefits, including discount programs for farmer supplies, car rentals and hotels.
The organization will next host their annual legislative dinner in February, though the date and time have yet to be announced. The dinner celebrates the agricultural work done by local and state legislators for the preceding year.
“It’s basically a thank-you dinner for those legislators,” said office manager Lori Dabney. “Afterwards, we announce our priority issues for the year.”
For 2011, some of the county’s priority issues included the Bureau’s pledge to stay vigilant in conserving water and its related issues, to work to protect agricultural sales tax exemptions, to preserve funding for agricultural institutions, to block efforts to regulate animal agriculture at the farm level, to continue working with other state and local animal agriculture groups and to seek additional avenues to control feral hogs.
While these issues (among many other issues) are still relevant to this upcoming year, the Bureau’s board of directors (all of whom are volunteers) will soon approve a new set of priority issues for 2012 to be announced at the February dinner.
The Bureau will also host their annual Farm Day at Berry’s Tree Farm for preschool children in May. Children will get the opportunity to check out different kinds of farm animals and equipment and participate in different educational activities throughout the event.