Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
October 30, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 30, 2019

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UPCOMING EVENTS IN MONROE COUNTY Calendar items run free of charge as a community service each week as space allows. Mail items for the Community Calen- dar to Diane Glidewell at by 8 a.m. on Monday. October 30, 201 ;0 Around Monroe County Forsyth Juliette High Falls Bolingbroke Culloa4, Smarr Oct. 31 Harris Family hosts Halloween fun for community It's going down at the Harris Household on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 356 Brookwood Drive, Forsyth. It's that time again: For the past eight years the Harris family has been giving away hot dogs and all the trimmings on Oct. 31 and inviting Forsyth and Monroe County to hang out. Come enjoy hot dogs, chips, sweet cakes/Cookies, soda, juice and bottled water and, of course, candy! Chief Eddie Harris will be giving out candy again this year. Come help celebrate this spe- cial event and keep the late Pastor Eddie Lee Harris Sn legacy alive. Tdck orTreat on Itle luam Forsyth Main Street will sponsor Trick or Treat on the Square on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Monica Cordy at 478- 994-7747 or mcordy@ 1st and 2nd place winners of the Scare- crow Contest will be announced on Oct. 31. Nov. 1 High Falls Lake to belowered High Falls State Park is planning on lowering High Falls Lake this Fall/ Winter beginning Nov. 1. Unless unforeseen cir- cumstances arise, the lake will be lowered until February 1, 2020. Lowering the lake is for residents' clock repairs and constructions. If you plan to do any new or existing dock construc- tion, please contact High Falls State Park Office at (478) 993- 3053. Heating Assistance M ram to open e Georgia Com- munity Action Agency Heating Assistance Program for Monroe County will open on Friday, Nov. 1 for households in which all members are 65 years old or over or are homebound. Contact Monroe County Neigh- borhood Service Center at 478-993-3029 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 and 6 to schedule an appointment. The pro- gram will open to the general public on Dec. 2. Schedule an appoint- ment at 1-844-588- 1552 or https://mgcaa. home. No walk-ins. To be eligible households must have an income at or below 60 percent of the state median income level. Applicants must bring proof of income, identity, citizenship sta- tus and gas and electric bills. S lls & Scales Clay S Toumament benefits Boys & Gids Clubs The 2nd Annual Shells & Scales Clay Shoot Tournament f benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Georgia will be at Meadows Gun Club in Forsyth on Friday, Nov. 1. Participants will rotate through 14 chal- lenging sporting clays stations, be eligible to win two round-trip Southwest Airline tickets and be able to bid on silent auction packages and participate in a raffle for Meadows Gun Club membership. See C/BEND.All Page 6C By Diane Glidewell The Georgia Forestry Association headquarters at 551 N. Frontage Road, Forsyth was the site of the Georgia Senate study com- mittee meeting on Agricul- ture, Forestry and Land- scape Workforce Access on Thursday, Oct. 17. The purpose of the committee is to hear front different segments of agriculture in Georgia about the dif- ficulties they are having in recruiting and maintaining a workforce that will enable their businesses to succeed. An underlying theme for the committee is studying whether relaxing certain restrictions on immigrants is a necessary and effective means for agriculture in Georgia to have a sustain- able workforce. The chair of the commit- tee is Sen. John Wilkinson, District 50 (Toccoa). Com- mittee members are Sen. P.K. Martin, Sen. Frank Ginn, Executive Director of Georgia Urban Agri- culture Council Mary Kay Woodworth, DOE Super- intendent Richard Woods, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Govemor's appointee to the commit- tee Brent Galloway and Lt. Governor's appointee to the committee Charles Hall. The committee was created by Senate Resolu- tion 460 in April 2019 and is designated to dissolve by Dec. 31, 2019. It has had several other meetings and is scheduled to have a final meeting on Nov. 7 in Tifton. Those who were actu- ally present in Forsyth and seated at the head table as part of the committee were Wilkinson, Ginn, Galloway, Woodworth and Mike Giles, Head of the Georgia Poultry Federation and Will Bentley, President of Georgia Agribusiness Council. The event was well-attended by those making presentations to the committee and by repre- sentatives of the hosting Georgia Forestry Associa- tion. There were presentations by the the Forest Products Industry, represented by Interior and IFCO Seed- lings and by Coastal Pines Georgia College about its programs related to the Forest Industry. The other segment of presenters rep- resented Georgia's Dairy In- dustry, with a speaker from the Georgia Milk Producers Association and another from Barrington Dair- ies. The Forestry Industry showed how it is meeting labor force challenges by targeted training programs and increased use of tech- nology. The Dairy Industry appealed to the committee that only increased incen- tives for immigrant labor could satisfy its workforce needs. Tim Lowrimore spoke for Interior. He said the company is the fourth largest lumber company in America. It is headquar- tered in America and has four regions, with the U.S. South being the largest region. Interior has seven operations in Georgia with 1,300 employees, $90 mil- lion in wages, and produces Pictured is the table of Georgia Senate study committee members at the Georgia Forestry Association headquarters in Forsyth on Oct. 17. Left to right, are Brent Galloway, Mike Giles, unknown attendee, Sen. John Wilkinson, Wilkinson's legislative assistant, Will Bentley, Mary Kay Woodworth. one-third of the company's goal of 20 percent, turnover tray and get seedlings out program. An example of produce, one billion board is at 28 percent 16 months to the consumer faster, a new program tailored to feet of lumber per year. It after the program started. He said the busy planting a company is one for a min- spends $110 million annu- Woodworth asked if In-season is a four-monthing operation coming to ally in 110 Georgia counties terfor uses H2A employees window, from about late Charleton County. to buy logs to supply its or used the Department of October to early March. "We will package what we Georgia sawmills. Labor to find employees. Dr. Glenn Deibert, Presi- have or write a new curric- Lowrimore said Interior H2A is a national program dent of Coastal Pines Tech- ulum" said Peagler. "This is prides itself on "not being that allows foreign nation- nical College, and Tommy not glamorous. It's hot and your grandfather's sawmill:' als visas to come to the Peagler, instructor, talked sweaty. It's not something He said the labor force U.S. to work in seasonal about their programs to every technical college will is tight in Georgia and agriculture jobs. Lowri- train workers to fill needs in get on board with." the hardest positions for more said Interior's jobs the forest industry. Coastal Andres Villegas of Geor- Interior to fill are produc- are year-round; so it does Pines represents two-and- gia Forestry Association tion employees. However, not use H2A. He said DOL a-half southeastern Georgia said that GFA looks at the when the company finds helps Interior get the word technical colleges that have global forest industry and employees who show up on out about hiring events but combined and serves 13how to make Georgia com- time, pass drug tests and does not otherwise help counties from campusespetitive in every part of the are willing to learn, They with finding employees, in Alma, Baxley, Camden, supply chain. In looking at train them and move them Preston Mobley, business Hazlehurst, Golden Isles, labor, GFA wants to make up in responsibilities in the manager for IFCO Seed-Jesup and Waycross. Offorestry'cool' again. He said company, lings, based in Moultrie, the 13 counties only Glynn when he worked in Uru- "We're trying to change spoke about IFCO's labor County is not rural, guay a career in the forestry the perception of working needs. He said IFCO is a Deibert said his phoneindustry was cool. He said in the lumber industry family owned and operated rings off the hook with that in perceptions, it is also We want to change the company that supplies 29 companies that would like important that consumers rural communities [where percent of the U.S. South's to expand or locate in the believe the products they our operations are]" said market for forest seed- area but can't find workers, use are sustainable, even Lowrimore. "We take in lings. It produces over 170 He said the solution is to though reforestation is hourly employees and train million bare-root and 120 start customizing programs labor intense. them. With initiative they million container seedlings for employers in high For the Dairy Industry, can go to other parts of the yearly and has research schools. The school has Farrah Newberry of Geor- country and Canada" and development facilities done this for both forestry gia Milk Producers Ass - He said that millwrights as well as nurseries. IFCO and fishing industries, ciation said there are now are the number one person conducts about 30 million "We are relying on busi- 127 dairy farm families in in the mill, and they must controlled crosses each year ness and industry to tell Georgia, down from the keep up with innovations seeking to breed trees for us what they need" said 500 there were 20 years ago. in technology with Interior more desirable attributes. Delbert. "We have 2,700 They care for 80,000 cows. now investing $250 million It also does its own cone students in dual enroll- "We lost a lot of market to modernize its facilities harvest, harvesting all of its ment. High schools can't at- and a lot of labor force, in Georgia. Interior has de- own seed. ford to have the programs, most for reasons beyond veloped its own three-year IFCO has faced chal- but I can hire one teacher our control ' said New- millwright apprenticeship lenges finding office staffat to bounce between three berry. "We were forced program and is accepting its rural locations and has high schools. We have a to get bigger or get out of about 24 employees into problems finding nursery new workforce coming out business and forced to hire it each year. Those who managers because of the every May, and a big piece non-family" complete the program earn uniqueness of the conifer of the curriculum is work She said it is a myth that $75,000 to $90,000 per nursery. Mobley said that ethics" the dairy industry doesn't year. Apprentices are paid are no degrees that prepare He said the Work Forcepay much. She said workers for 10 hours of study time someone specifically as a Georgia program has make $30,000 to $40,000 per week The program is pine manager, moved under the technical per year plus get housing supported by the Georgia "We will train anyone college system. The college for their families. Their Department of Labor and who is ready to move up" is going to small companies wages increase as they stay Technical Colleges. Lowri- said Mobley. that only need three or four with their employer, and more said it has been com- He said IFCO had to out- apprentices and work- they get medical care for plicated to work with five source its information tech- ing with them to handle their families. different workforce regions nology because it couldn't paperwork for Work Force "They live in the shadowsl in Georgia to serve all of its find anyone in Moultrie to grants for both students They're not asking for citi- locations, but the company handle it. He said the In- and employers, zenship, just for a chance is committed to expanding ternet issues in rural areas "We're working on a lot of to support their families" its workforce and support- discourage young people things, but we're not there, said Newberry. "Locals ing the communities, from pursuing IT careers in yet,' said Deibert. work one or two weeks and Lowrimore said the the area. Peagler teaches forestry don't come back Drug and company faces the same Mobley said IFCO has and timber harvesting in alcohol abuse complicates stigma against forestry used H2A for seasonal em- four counties. He alsoit. The federal system has jobs throughout the U.S. ployees, but both migrant answers calls from other failed us. We are competing whereas in Canada job and local employees are counties about how to set with Netflix and the couch. seekers are much more hard to find for seasonal up programs. At the high We need the guest worker proud of working in the labor. He said in Louisiana, school level the program program" forest indust the company goes through is free. He said the goal is Newberry said the dairy Galloway asked if the hiring about 100 people a to have students able to industry is working for a company has worked with year in order to fill a need operate equipment. Thesolution in robotics, but recruiting high school for 30 workers becauseprogram has local partners there are jobs on a dairy students, such as in dual of drug issues and other who loan the equipment for that need a human touch enrollment programs. Low- questions of reliability. He training. Peagler said start- and not many lenders are rim re said the company said their crews stay on the ing pay for the high school willing to invest in technol- has been working with move throughout the sea- dual enrollment graduate is ogy for dairies with the Georgia's technical colleges son and they have to find $18-$20/hour and in a little current low prices. but it is just beginning to housing that meets federal over five years the employee "We are asking for the recruit at the high school standards, will make $50,000 per year. opportunity to hire workers level. He said the company The best solutions forHe said the secret to that work hard and are de- has started a new employee IFCO have been in finding recruiting students into pendable" said Newberr program in which employ- technology to overcomethe program is the high Galloway noted that H2A ees meet one-on-one with workforce limitations. For school counselor seeing is for seasonal workers supervisors regularly for example, to cut one pivot the students' interest and whereas dairy and beef the first six months, and the now takes one man instead encouraging them. He said cattle need consistent care program has reduced turn- of five. IFCO can now students are hired quickly over by 30 percent. With a move more in a packingwhen they complete the See SENATE Page 7C J