Loeffler leaves Senate agriculture subcommittee amid controversy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler received stock and other awards worth more than $9 million from her former employer just before she was appointed to the Senate in January. To quash criticism of the package, the Georgia Republican stepped down from the Senate agriculture subcommittee that oversees the futures markets.

National Farmers Union elects new president; Perdue reassures on trade

The National Farmers Union elected Rob Larew, the organization’s senior vice president of public policy and communications, as president at its annual convention Monday in Savannah, Georgia. Larew will take the helm from outgoing president Roger Johnson, a former agriculture commissioner of North Dakota, who served in the role since 2009.

South maintains clout on Ag Committee with new member

Republican Sen. Kelly Leoffler, who took office on Monday, will replace fellow Georgian David Perdue on the Senate Agriculture Committee in a step that will assure a strong Southern bloc on the panel. The committee oversees the farm program, although its top issue this year may be re-authorization of child nutrition programs, headlined by WIC and school lunch, that cost $30 billion a year.

The farm industry is pushing for tighter right-to-farm laws across the country. What does that mean for farm neighbors?

Every state has a “right-to-farm” law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and sounds created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.

Hurricane Michael ruined 7 percent of the U.S. cotton crop

Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.

Hurricane Michael wallops Georgia cotton, pecans and poultry

For Georgia farmers, Hurricane Michael is "the most widespread and devastating hurricane in recollection," said state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. More than 92 poultry barns, housing more than 2 million birds, were destroyed; cotton growers suffered massive losses; and pecan growers lost trees for the third year in a row to a hurricane.

Spanish pigs touch down in Georgia, birthing a new ham

For centuries, a coveted type of ham — jamón ibérico de bellota — has been produced from a special breed of pigs in Spain. Now a Georgia farmer is aiming to create an American version of the iconic food, writes Maryn McKenna in FERN’s latest story, produced with Eater. No paywall

Hurricanes knock 600,000 bales, or 3 percent, out of U.S. cotton harvest

The one-two punch of Hurricane Harvey on Gulf coast and Hurricane Irma in the Southeast reduced the U.S. cotton crop by more than 600,000 bales, or 3 percent, said the USDA in its monthly crop report. The USDA lowered its estimate of the harvest in Texas, the No. 1 cotton state, and in No. 2 Georgia, down by 300,000 bales apiece.

White House taps Georgia state health official to head CDC

President Trump plans to appoint the Georgia state public health commissioner, Brenda Fitzgerald, as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Washington Post. Fitzgerald is president-elect of the organization representing public health agencies and "has strong ties to Republican leaders," including Health Secretary Tom Price, a former Georgia congressman, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said the newspaper.

Georgia is more likely to investigate rural voters than city dwellers

The Daily Yonder says its analysis of State Election Board records for 2015 and 2016 in Georgia "shows that rural voters are about twice as likely to be investigated as urban voters are." The secretary of state's office, which oversees elections, says if there's a disparity, it's because rural poll workers are not as well trained rather than bias of any form.