Farm Monitor - March 19, 2022

Farm Monitor - March 19, 2022

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[Announcer] This is the Farm Monitor. For over 50-years, your source for agribusiness news and features from around the southeast and across the country, focusing on one of the nation’s top industries, Agriculture. The Farm Monitor is produced by one of the largest general farm organizations, the Georgia Farm Bureau. Now, here are your hosts, Ray D'Alessio and Kenny Burgamy.



[KENNY] Ensuring a wholesome and safe milk product; that is the goal of the Georgia Raw Dairy Act, a bill in the Georgia General Assembly that will allow dairy producers to sell raw milk to the public. John Holcomb reports on how this bill will give Georgians another safe, food option. [Atlanta/John Holcomb – Reporting] Under current Georgia law, dairy producers here in the state are only allowed to sell their raw milk from their farms under a special label known as "pet milk", but state legislators are looking to change that with a new bill known as the Georgia Raw Dairy Act, or House Bill 1175 – a measure, Representative Clay Pirkle, a sponsor of the bill says is a necessary step to keep Georgians that may be consuming raw milk safe. [Rep. Clay Pirkle/(R) GA District 155] The concern I have is not with pet milk, if you're feeding it to a pet but if this is used to circumvent um, the process of testing milk to make sure it's safe for our food supply, the things that we feed people with, that is my concern.

[John] The concern is that if people are in fact consuming "pet milk" that isn't tested, it becomes a food safety issue as they could potentially be exposed to something that could make them sick. [Pirkle] We don't know what the somatic cell count is. We have no idea what the fecal matter, bacteria, um, staph. We have no idea what is in that milk. If the cow that is milked uh, still has residue from an antibiotic shot, we certainly don't want to introduce antibiotics into our food supply so, but it's never tested right now.

So, all this bill does is uh, puts the same requirements on raw milk that we have for our regular Grade A pasteurized process, except it's not pasteurized. [John] Kenneth Murphy, a dairy farmer in Meriwether County and vocal supporter of the bill, says this is something that is needed and is an issue that was brought to light during the pandemic when grocery stores were out of milk. [Kenneth Murphy/Co-Owner, Murphy Dairy] In the beginning of the pandemic, uh, people was in a panic and couldn't get milk on the shelves, which it was a problem and uh, people came to me and asked me if they could buy milk if they couldn't get it in the stores and made me go to thinking about it and we uh, we just realized there was a bigger market than we realized and people are consuming pet milk that has not being inspected. [John] Murphy says that due to industry and technological standards improving over the past decade, milk production is as safe as it has ever been without it being pasteurized. [Murphy] Several years ago, the dairy industry changed their standards and uh, we now are producing almost a pure quality, uh, standpoint, from a lab standpoint, we're uh, have very low somatic cell counts and uh, very low bacteria count. This is uh changed over the industry's demand for it and that has changed within the last ten years.

[John] And regardless of how safe it may be, if the measure, which has already passed through the Georgia House is passed through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, testing, just like with regular, Grade A milk will be done to ensure it is safe for consumers to enjoy. [Pirkle] We will do the same testing procedures that we have for our milk supply now. So, we're going to test somatic cell count to see the uh, quality of the milk and uh, there are certain standards that it must meet. We'll check bacteria counts.

We will check uh, for antibiotics. So, we will have the same litany of tests in raw milk that we have for uh, conventional Grade A milk. [John] Reporting in Atlanta for the Farm Monitor, I'm John Holcomb. [RAY] Well the days of cows, sows and plows have long past in the world of agriculture as groundbreaking technology can be found all throughout the industry. Damon Jones traveled to the inaugural AgTech Summit in Tifton and tells you why these innovations are not just vital for the future of agriculture, but for humanity as well. [Tifton/Damon Jones – Reporting] The state's major universities along with government and agricultural leaders were represented at the first AgTech Summit.

It provided a unique opportunity for those in attendance to get an update on technological advances being made in Georgia's number one industry. [Chris Chammoun – Director of Ag Technology, Center for Innovation] We've never had one statewide meeting focused just on Ag technology. So, the idea today was to bring together industry uh, academia and government to have one day to discuss what's going on in the ag tech world and kind of help plan for the future. [Damon] That future is looking bright as new, innovative research is being conducted every day in order to make improvement on a number of different sectors within the ag industry. [Chris] Precision ag is the largest Georgia has had a large uh, presence in precision ag over the years. The fastest growing area we see is controlled environment ag.

So, you think of the large greenhouse operations like Pure Flavor or Kalera. Uh, food product innovation is kind of that third key area. And that's really transforming our traditional commodities. So, we grow a lot of different commodities in Georgia.

And the fourth area we're talking about today is called food system technology integration. And this is really around the large food processors, mainly poultry processors. [Damon] While there is a common misconception that agriculture is behind the times when it comes to adopting new technology, farmers are more than happy to embrace change as long as it improves their bottom line. [Lee Herron – VP of Venture Development, GA Research Alliance] Historically folks have thought farmers are slow to adopt new technology.

But that's really not the case. Um, they have to be very bottom line oriented. And if it doesn't provide increases in efficiency, increases in yield, it's going to be a slow adoption cycle.

But for new technology that offers the potential for increased efficiency, increased yield, it will be adopted. [Damon] And that will soon become a necessity in order to keep up with the food demands for an ever-expanding population around the world. [Lee] We are not going to have enough food to feed the world's population in 2050.

That, that's it, bottom line. Um, so, increases in efficiency and yield are absolutely necessary. Without that um, we're going to have some very difficult decisions to make.

So, there is a pressing need just as there is with climate and other global issues to increase the yield and the efficiency of agriculture. [Damon] With the average age of farmers on the rise, adopting these technological advances becomes important as it could have an impact on the pool of students looking to get into the agricultural field. [Chris] Sometimes technology and ag may be two different words uh, two different worlds really. Uh, but what we really see is that a lot of the technology that younger kids are uh, experienced with, so, laptops, cell phones uh, virtual reality devices, those have applications in agriculture. And it's really about looking to that future workforce as well and trying to get more young people involved in agriculture by using the technology, technology they're already familiar with.

[Damon] Reporting from Tift County, I'm Damon Jones for the Farm Monitor. [RAY] Recently, Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture, and Georgia EMC partnered to present the 2022 Book of the Year, "How to Grow a Monster" to the Hancock County Library. Now in its fifth year, the unique partnership donates the book of the year to every public library in the state; a measure Kaleb Frady with Georgia EMC says is just one way they can give back to their rural and ag communities by promoting ag literacy in Georgia. [Kaleb Frady/Public Relations Representative, Georgia EMC] The members that own the EMC's, many of them are involved in agriculture and farming, and since electric cooperatives are so invested in their communities it makes sense to partner in an agriculture and youth initiative like this. Uh, anything that our EMC's can do to show that local investment. We're owned by those we serve, we're rooted in our communities and we care about our future generations right here in our communities.

[Music] [Ranger Nick] Well, hey everybody Ranger Nick. Coming up, you know, we hear a lot about wildlife surveillance, and coming up, we're gonna talk about how you use this guy, a wildlife camera, to monitor what's going on in your property. We're talking set up and what to do with those pictures, after the break.

[Music] [Music] [Narrator] UGarden is more than just a farm. It's a community, built by and four students in 2010. UGarden connects student’s passions to the University's neighbors and the planet. Students earn class credits while learning to grow organic food and herbs in a way that honors and protects the environment through sustainable farming practices.

In addition to the hands-on education students receive in the field, UGarden also fosters an entrepreneurial spirit. Each week, students have the opportunity to sell the organic produce and herbs they grow at an onsite farmer's market. But UGarden isn't just for students.

There are full-time employees and student workers who rely on UGarden for their livelihood. Since 2010, hundreds of volunteers have contributed more than forty-two thousand hours of their time to keep UGarden running. Over time, UGarden has evolved to be so much more than just a place for students to learn while getting their hands dirty. The accomplishments extend far beyond the farm, because at UGarden, sustainable food systems aren't just about environmentally friendly farming practices.

It's also about ensuring that everyone has access to healthy food. UGarden partners with the UGA student food pantry, and the campus kitchen at UGA to provide fresh produce to students and Athens area residents who are struggling with food insecurity. Since 2010, UGarden has donated over one hundred thousand pounds of produce for distribution to the Athens area community. But now, UGarden needs you. It's time to give back to this space that is given so much to the Athens area and beyond. Please consider supporting UGarden through service or donations so this thriving campus community can continue to educate our students and nourish our world.

[Fast Paced Music] [Dr. Nick Fuhrman/Meigs Professor, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources] Well, how about that beautiful shot? Looking down on the White Hall Forest, part of the UGA's Warren School of Forestry and Natural resources. And this month, we're talking about wildlife surveillance.

I've been called a lot of things in my life, but I've never been called a wildlife detective until now. I've got some great tips for you this month if you're interested in putting a wildlife camera out on your property. This is a Browning Strike Force camera and not to sound like a commercial for Browning, but I will say the Browning Strikeforce is a great brand to consider. I wanna walk you through what to do with this thing, because some of these things that are online about 'em, don't tell you the things that I've learned from experience.

First of which is setting this guy up. Let's talk about when you get it out of the box, what do you do with this thing? You wanna go ahead and open this little door up on this guy, and you'll notice that it does require batteries, that aren't part of it. And the batteries go underneath of this guy. As you open this guy up and pull the batteries out, you wanna put fresh batteries in it. These could last well, sometimes a week, sometimes a month.

Depends on what you do in your setup. I'm gonna put those batteries in and remind you that also these do not come with an SD card. So don't forget, add that to your shopping list, get an SD card, which is the memory card that holds all your pictures.

This is a sixteen gigabyte. I'm gonna recommend a thirty-two gigabyte, if you wanna do video with your camera. I'm gonna put this guy into the camera here, just like so, and get ourselves ready to set this thing up. When you turn it on, here are some things to think about.

First, set your date and your time. That's gonna tell you once you start getting those pictures, what time of the night or day or the animals or people that you're seeing walking in front of this camera. Get the date and the time correct. Moon phase will automatically be set, which is pretty neat if you're interested in Whitetail Deer and seeing where they're going.

That's another important thing. The other thing to think about with this guy is you're setting it up is; when you put your SD card in, make sure that you format it, all that means is delete what's on it already. That's called formatting. If you don't, it won't let you take any pictures.

The other thing I want you to remember is how many pictures it takes in each burst. You can set your camera to thirty second intervals for pictures, and I'd encourage you to do that. They don't tell you that in the user manual and what the default is is it ends up taking a lot of pictures, every say, ten seconds. Put your camera out in the woods, and within an hour, or your SD card is full.

You don't want that. Once you go through those things, you close this guy up, you're ready to put it out in the woods and get some photos of some wildlife. And I wanna tell you next about what you do with that camera, putting it on a tree or on a fence post. And then what do you do once you get those pictures? So let's go there next. [Nick] Well, it's so neat to think about the topic of this month's Ranger Nick segment and where it came from. You know, I was inspired by a fellow faculty member, Dr. James Johnson in the Warnell School

of Forestry and Natural Resources, who has a passion for using wildlife cameras to study wildlife activity. And I had him come into one of my classes very recently and share with my students, some of these techniques. And I thought, doc, I gotta do a Ranger Nick on this. And that's how we came up with this today. So, once you've formatted your camera, where do you put this thing on your property? Well, we're down here along a Creek right now, and a Creek or a beautiful pond that you may have seen on your screen is a nice edge, as well as a roadway. It's a great edge for predators to travel along and get food.

And so I'm down along this creek. Over here, I have set up our wildlife camera that we just finished formatting a little bit ago. And as I was putting this thing on this tree, I want you to notice something that you might not notice had I not told you. And I have learned the hard way as I was putting this thing on this little tree, my battery pack on the bottom of this camera got loosened and nearly dropped out.

Now, if I didn't notice and I set my camera up and walked away, nothing would get photos at all. That'd be a problem. And that'd leave you upset when you came to check your camera.

So I'm gonna check my battery pack, put that in there. I'm gonna go ahead and make sure that my camera is turned on. But before I do notice this little stick, that's on top of that camera.

I've put that stick in a position to angle the lens of the camera down. I wanna angle that camera slightly down and ten feet from the camera is a good distance.Ten feet is where your photos are gonna be clearest. You don't want that critter super close, it'll be blurry. And in order to see the direction of the lens, the eye of the lens, I'll often get a little paint stir stick, and just kind of check to see the direction where that lens is going.

And it looks about right. Ten feet from here, before I go ahead and turn this thing on and start capturing, ten feet from here is a little sand pit that we created with my students this week. And this is actually not only playground sand, but also has some mineral spirits mixed into it. It makes the sand nice and able to be padded and leaves a print.

I put this little paint stir stick in the center and honestly put some sardines on top of it to get the scent off the ground, and it brought in raccoons and all kind of cool stuff. Now I don't recommend putting out bait and I'll tell you why. Sometimes that creates aggression among animals, deer, and other things.

And we don't wanna encourage animals come into a certain place over and over. So we put our camera out. We're gonna forget about the bait for a second. Before I leave, I'm turning it on. I know my SD card is in there and when you turn it on, you'll be given a countdown.

You got thirty seconds to get out of there before it starts taking a picture. So let's get outta here. Let's hope for the best with our camera. And let's go talk about what do you do when you get some good shots? What kind of decisions can you make? We'll go there next. [Nick] All right.

So I'm coming out here to check on my camera and notice I've put the camera on a tree and the camera is facing up this hard edge. This road, coyotes, this is a great place for a coyote to hang out all along a nice edge like this, a roadway path of least resistance. They can run right down this road. Look for those prey items. Those prey critters are looking for.

And what's interesting is to note, I picked this lob lolly pine tree, as opposed to that one and sorry, buddy, nothing against you, but, you may not be able to see it on camera; in front of this pine tree are some of these blades of grass. If I put that camera on that pine tree and these blades of grass started moving, it would trip that camera over and over and before too long, my SD card would be full without any pictures like coyotes, but pictures of grass moving around. If you happen to pull your SD card out of your camera and take your camera with you and notice when you download those shots that you have a lot of pictures of nothing, it could be a leaf or a blade of grass moving around that did that to you. Before you put that camera out, make sure you have a clear shot when it's about two or three feet off the ground, straight up a roadway. All right, so, you got your SD card.

You turn that camera off. You're gonna take it with you. What do you do with this stuff? Download this onto your computer.

Get an SD card reader, take a look at it. And if you've got things like coyotes or predators like that, realize don't jump to conclusions. Know that this time of year early spring, late winter coyotes are pretty hungry. The pray that they fed on during the nice months when there were young animals, young rabbits and rats and things to eat, are no longer. So they're hungry.

If you see coyotes now, hold back a little bit, get a couple weeks worth of data and notice in the pictures that you get, are there any identifying marks on those animals that might tell you it's the same animal. Take a note of what time of day or night it is and consider reaching out to an extension agent. Like we talk about a lot on the segment. They can reach out to a nuisance wildlife professional and help you figure out what to do about that. This is one source of data in all the decisions you make as a landowner. And I gotta tell you, you might even find some folks trespassing on your land if that camera's along the road.

So it'll benefit you there. I hope you've enjoyed doing this stuff with us today. Such an interesting segment and a big thanks to Dr. Johnson for all the great tips he shared with me to share with you. Well, you know what to do, while you're online, looking at other pictures of wildlife and taking pictures yourself, hop on over to the Farm Monitor Facebook page, check it out. Check out the Ranger Nick Facebook page.

And until next time for the Farm Monitor, I'm Ranger Nick, reminding you as I always do that, enthusiasm is contagious. So pass it on. Happy pictures. I look forward to seeing you again this time next month. See ya. [Music] [KENNY] UP NEXT; THEY CURRENTLY SERVE IN THE KEMP ADMINISTRATION, BUT FOR THIS FATHER AND SON DUO THEIR FIRST LOVE IS TENDING TO THE FARM.

HOW BLAKE AND ALLEN POOLE BALANCE POLITICAL LIFE WITH FARM LIFE WHEN THE FARM MONITOR CONTINUES. [Music] [Music] [Buchanan/Damon Jones – Reporting] Like father, like son. Handed down from generation to generation is a passion for agriculture that has led to this cattle operation in Haralson County. It's a farm that has been in the Poole family for quite some time and has seen its fair share of changes. [Allen Poole – Director, Governor's Office of Highway Safety] I grew up on the farm back in 1960 and we've had it since 1960. So, it' actually a third-generation farm.

I mean, we went from row crops to raising nothing but cattle. Uh, when I was a youngster growing up, we had plenty of corn in these fields. It was just loaded with corn and vegetables. [Damon] With both Allen and Blake also having full-time jobs within the government, it takes a great deal of teamwork and cooperation in order to keep this operation running efficiently. [Blake Poole – Middle GA Field Rep, Governor's Office] I'll tell you what, it's pretty stressful. My dad and uncle normally run it for me.

And so, I'm gone all the time. So, my dad is a retired state trooper, and my uncle was also. So, a lot of times when I'm gone, my dad runs it, and uncle runs it. And so, um, they're a real big help on the farm. [Damon] That type of collaboration is what truly makes this a family farm. In fact, just having their name attached to this operation provides a great sense of achievement and an example that others can follow.

[Blake] I take a lot of pride in it because it's generation after generation. And so, I think the best thing for family farmers now, we're about three or four generations removed from family ag. So, I think getting back involved in your family farm, that's what it's all about.

A lot of people, we've got to get outside the box and get back into farming. Know where your food comes from. Know how it's grown. Educate yourself on where it's from.

[Damon] While it does take up most of their free time tending to the herd, it's a lifestyle neither would have any other way. [Allen] I enjoy riding my tractor where I can just sit up there and I can, I guess bush hog or just be out and alone so that you can think. [Blake] Just coming out here and de-stressing and see my cows and being a steward of the land, doing what's right and um, just being a steward, and seeing these cows grow and seeing what they do. What you put in is what you put out and I love it. [Damon] It's that type of excitement for agriculture the Poole's would like to pass on to future generations as they both see it as prosperous career path.

[Allen] Cattle ranching is a profitable business. Uh, as you can see, we have a number of herd behind me. We run about thirty head per year and we normally sell of about two droves of calves a year.

[Blake] I think for young farmers, if you take that chance, be bold and courageous, you can do it. You got to take that leap of faith. And if you do it, it's going to be fine. [Damon] Reporting from Haralson County, I'm Damon Jones for the Farm Monitor. [RAY] DAMON, THANKS SO MUCH, AND AS ALWAYS THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US. [KENNY] TAKE CARE EVERYBODY, WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME, RIGHT HERE ON THE FARM MONITOR.


2022-03-23 19:20

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