Monday, September 25, 2023

Georgia Poultry Federation: Keeping #GeorgiaPoultryStrong

By David B. Strickland, Poultry Times editor,

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BUFORD, Ga. — The poultry industry slowly works toward a post-pandemic world nationwide with in-person meetings, seminars, golf tournaments and concerts planned. And Georgia is no different and in the process is highlighting the industry’s importance.

During its recent annual meeting (the first in-person one since 2019), the Georgia Poultry Federation (GPF) elected its new chairman for the upcoming year. David Bleth, Harrison Poultry, takes the helm as GPF chairman for 2021-2022. Lucas Hill, Pilgrim’s, now becomes the group’s immediate past chairman.

GPF president Mile Giles also addressed the challenges faced from the unprecedented pandemic. “In the trade association business, you want to be helpful and relevant to your members,” said Mile Giles, GPF president. “Although I would never again want to go through a year like we’ve gone through, I have to say that for me and the poultry federation team … it really was one of the most rewarding years that I’ve ever had with the trade association business.”

He elaborated by saying, “because there were needs in the industry that we were able to meet. I hope that it is behind us. But in the end, there will always be challenges. That is what the federation is here to do.”

Giles pointed out the federation has made special efforts, even during the pandemic year, to enhance workforce development. When asked what is one of the most important issues facing the poultry industry today, he answered: “Labor. Labor. Labor.”

Last year the first class of high school graduates completed a poultry-specific training course held by the GPF. “There are young people now working in the industry that would never have realized that they had an opportunity to work and have careers in the poultry industry,” Giles said.

“They only graduated last October, and 100 percent of the students got job offers and were employed in the industry within two weeks … we are very excited about this program.” The federation is also working with Georgia’s technical college system to hopefully make the program available throughout the state, he said.


Along with the many challenges that Georgia and most state organizations faced, GPF had to decide how to present its annual fundraising concert. GPF developed an outdoor concert concept to replace the longstanding Night of Knights event. Its theme: Georgia Poultry Strong.

The recent meeting took place in the same location of the newly revamped concert, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 28, at Lake Lanier Islands Resort near Buford, Ga.

“A tremendous amount of work has been done to develop this new concept,” Giles said. “We think it’s going to be a lot of fun and there is a lot of enthusiasm about our concert. It’s going to be more casual, with a whole weekend of opportunities to do other things at the resort as well.”

The venue includes a 40-foot stage, jumbo screen for easy viewing and a barbecue dinner. Chris Janson is this year’s entertainment. “This venue is absolutely incredible for an outdoor concert like this,” said Jody Jackson, who has served for several years as the event’s organizer. Giles added: “We are really excited about how we are poised now to launch this new event.”

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