2014-08-13 / Front Page

WASHINGTON TO WAYNESBORO

Deputy ag secretary talks policy with producers
By Anne Marie Kyzer


USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden boards a combine as farmer Brad Edenfield explains the new technology installed on it. USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden boards a combine as farmer Brad Edenfield explains the new technology installed on it. The number two official for Georgia’s number one industry came to Burke County last week.

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden of the United States Department of Agriculture met with about 20 producers in Waynesboro, where she responded to their concerns about current policy.

Congressman John Barrow, who arranged for Harden’s visit, called Harden’s post at USDA the “number one policy-making job in the agency.”

“We have a friend at the table in Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden,” Barrow said.

Most of the discussion here last week centered on implementation of the commodity programs portion of the 2014 Farm Bill, which included major reforms for risk management tools used by farmers in the past.

“There are a lot of reforms in this bill,” Deputy Secretary Harden said at the meeting, noting there were more than 480 decisions points that had to be considered as they worked to implement it.

She acknowledged the reforms in the bill may take time for producers to get used to but the USDA’s goal is to implement those reforms and new programs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“It is complicated. It is complex,” she granted. “But so is your business. And so is the government’s involvement in your business.”

TECH TALK ON THE FARM

Before Harden’s roundtable discussion with producers, a couple of them demonstrated for her the technology they are using to make farming more efficient.

Brad Edenfield welcomed her into the cab of a new combine equipped with the latest technology. With Global Positioning Systems and sophisticated monitoring systems, the Edenfields are able to map crop yields and quality across their fields.

Rocky Yelton, who owns Southern Farm Services, showed Harden how he is using GPS to provide highly detailed soil sample maps, crop scouting and irrigation management. By mapping the fields using GPS, he explained, farmers can cut costs by applying only what is needed in each specific area of the field.

Return to top