Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
JULY 2017

2017 HARVEST CELEBRATION
Planning is underway for Harvest Celebration, which is slated for November 17, 2017 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. We are very pleased to announce country music powerhouse, Restless Heart will serve as the entertainment. 
Harvest Celebration is key to the advocacy efforts of the Council, and we are very grateful for the support provided by our members and industry friends. We hope to have you as our guest for a first-class, engaging evening that you will want to share with friends, family and co-workers. 

Early Bird tickets are on sale now! Purchasers will be entered into a drawing for one of twelve great prizes. These include a one-night's stay on November 17 at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel; one of three Field of Dreams ticket books; or one of eight autographed items from Restless Heart. This Early Bird promotion ends August 18.
Click Here to order your
or call GAC at 706-336-6830

For more information contact:
WOTUS REGULATIONS REPEALED!
The news about U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt repealing the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rules has been warmly received by agriculture, forestry and property rights enthusiasts. The two-year battle between landowners and the previous EPA administration was emotion-packed, but fell on the deaf ears of EPA leaders. It took President Trump and his new EPA leader to make our voices heard. We appreciate the work of all of the ag and forestry groups in Georgia and across the nation that fought in unity against the new rules. We also thank Growing Georgia for their article heralding the recent announcement.
As we stated in the article, this is an important discussion and should be inclusive of landowners, science and practical application. Any changes to the Clean Water Act and WOTUS should be vetted by Congress, not just by regulators, and accepted or rejected by a vote of our elected leaders. Watch for the new approach to adjusting the Clean Water Act in the months ahead. We thank Administrator Pruitt for "Ditching The Rule!" This time EPA and Congress will listen to all of us.
HOUSE RURAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL DISCUSSES SMALL BUSINESS
The House Rural Development Council (HRDC) held their second round of discussions in Toccoa, June 15 and 16 . Co-Chairs Terry England (Auburn) and Jay Powell (Camilla) heard from many speakers emphasizing the importance of filling the open jobs that are currently available in their community and across rural Georgia. Attracting and keeping qualified labor is a problem very familiar in the agribusiness arena and the HRDC is becoming very familiar as well.  There are tax incentives currently in place for small businesses already in place but there is growing interest in reviewing these benefits and making adjustments as needed. Videos of the presentations made a the HRDC sessions are available online for your review. 
We hope you will make plans to attend a session that comes to your area later this year. GAC will continue to monitor these meetings and update you as they progress throughout the year. For more information and future dates on the House Rural Development Council, click here. The next set of meetings are going to cover rural healthcare and will be held in Thomasville on July 19 & 20. 
MEMBER POLL
Thanks for your responses last month. Here are the poll results for:
"What do you think of Delta Airlines' plan to eliminate peanuts as an in-flight snack option?"

TERRIBLE- peanuts are healthy & Delta should help promote GA peanuts: 53%  
POOR - Delta has served GA peanuts for over 50 years & should continue: 24%  
INDIFFERENT - Delta can serve what they like & I can choose airlines I like: 14% 
GOOD - passengers with peanut allergies shouldn't have to worry: 9%

H ere's our latest member poll. We appreciate your input: 
GAC is headed to DC in July. Which of the following federal issues is most important to you?
Reforms to help access labor for my business
Reducing regulations at EPA, FDA and other federal agencies
Maintain and enhance world trade opportunities for ag, forestry & agribusiness
Fix the healthcare program so it works for small businesses and families
NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH
We are pleased to announce that our new website in now live. This brand new design allows users to easily navigate the site in order to find out more about GAC initiatives, become members, discover our services, purchase tickets to events, and learn about our GAC Foundation activities. We hope you like what you see. Additional features will be added in the weeks ahead.
CONGRATULATIONS TO KAREN HANDEL
GAC would like to wish Karen Handel a hardy congratulations on her victory, securing Georgia's 6th Congressional District the U.S. House of Representatives. The Council has always enjoyed working with Karen since she served as Georgia's 26th Secretary of State from 2007 to 2010. She and her husband Steve have attended several GAC events. Congresswoman Handel is well respected by those in the agriculture community and we look forward to working on issues affecting our industry.
GAC TAKING ISSUES TO D.C.
We will be in DC next week discussing trade, labor and regulatory reform with Members of the Georgia delegation as well as USDA. This trip is an excellent opportunity for GAC members to interact and engage with Members of Congress in order to discuss issues in our industry face-to-face. 
While in DC, GAC will also be meeting with all seven of the  UGA Agriculture Fellows . GAC has always been supportive of allowing students the opportunity to experience agriculture policy on a national level and always look forward to engaging with them. 
GAC BOARD SUMMER MEETING; SAVANNAH PORT TOUR
The Georgia Agribusiness Council board of directors met in June for the summer board of directors meeting. We were pleased to have "Georgia's first industry" of agribusiness meet in Savannah, "Georgia's first city" with such a rich history in agribusiness innovation and exports. We were honored to have Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and his Chief of Staff Martin Sullivan speak to our group. The meeting included an update on Georgia Ports Authority activities while receiving a first-hand look at the Savannah Port and its incredible impact on the state's economy. Special thanks goes to Lee Beckmann of the Georgia Ports Authority for leading the tour and discussion. Generating approximately $20.4 billion and facilitating 370,000 jobs, the Savannah port leads the nation in export ratio with a majority of those exports being ag-related. 
GAC WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
We are proud to add two new faces to our leadership team at GAC! Lee Bonecutter of Cargill and Jade Duane of The Kroger Co. joined our Board of Directors in June and we are very pleased to have their leadership to continue the work of the Council. Lee is located in Augusta and Jade is located in Atlanta. They were elected during our summer board of directors meeting to fill vacancies created by the departures of Sonny Perdue of AGrowStar and Duane Myers of Kroger. We are honored to have them join our team as we advocate for Georgia's largest and strongest industry - agriculture!

GAC FOUNDATION HELPS FUND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS 

The GAC Foundation allows businesses and individuals to make tax-deductible donations to support ag education programs. FFA, 4-H, UGA Ag Fellows, and Destination Ag are just some of the programs receiving funds in addition to our Dr. Joe B. Crane Classroom Grants and the Mr. Bill Baisley “Sumpin’ Big” Scholarships. The Foundation helps support a variety of programs that provide young people leadership and career development. Please consider making a donation to help these programs this year. Please click here for a donation form or call the office at 706-336-6830.  Thank you!
NEW AGRICULTURE WATER PROJECT MANAGER
Governor Deal recently announced a $10.5 million investment will be placed in the state's water metering program regulated by Georgia's EPD. We are pleased that he tapped Marjie Dickey to serve as the Agriculture Water Project Manager overseeing this effort. Marjie is the daughter of Robert and Cynde Dickey of Dickey Farms in Musella.
The process is expected to last three years as EPD prioritizes the installation of ag irrigation meters at each permitted withdrawal site in the Flint and Suwannee river basins. EPD and its partners will work closely with agriculture producers as the new meters are installed and the program is implemented. Water management and data collection will forever be a part of our agricultural practices. This initiative will serve us well in the future and we prove to neighboring states that Georgia water use is responsible, sustainable with an effort to further enhance efficiency.
"GEORGIA AgPAC" CONTINUING TO GROW SUPPORT
THANK YOU for your support of the new Georgia AgPAC! Your donations to this initiative are dedicated to help fund campaigns for state elected leaders that have proven to have a strong voice for agriculture and support agribusiness initiatives. Georgia AgPAC  has already issued over $11,000 in campaign checks to elected leaders and, with your continued support, we will be able to help many more.  Please call our office at 706-336-6830 or  click here to download the donation form to be a partner in this important effort.  Thank you!
A.M. Bickley Inc.
Barrington Dairies
Bay Branch Farms, Inc.
Clay Co. & Associates
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
 Davis M. Love III and Robin B. Love 
Docia Farms
Doerun Gin Co. Inc.
Doug Hopkins
Dollar Farm Products Co. Inc. 
Embry Farm Services
GA Ag. Commodity Commission for Tobacco
GA Association of Professional Ag. Consultants
Georgia Peach Council
Georgia Poultry Federation
Georgia Seed Association Inc.
Georgia Watermelon Association
Greg Sikes Farm, LLC
Hattaway Farms Partnerships
Holifield Farms Inc.
Israel Farm Supply Inc.
J & B Irrigation Inc.

KAKEGA LLC
Leger & Son, Inc.
Majors Electric & Mechanical Co., Inc.
Oak Hill Farm
Pike Creek Turf, Inc.
Pitts Insurance Agency Inc.

Plantation Seed Conditioners, Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Saddle Creek Farm
Swainsboro Stockyard
TriEst Ag Group, Inc.
Vidalia Onion Business Council
Special thanks to our
2017 Star Sponsors!
AGRITRUST SEMINARS
The 2017 Regional Workers' Compensation Seminars conducted by AgriTrust of Georgia will be held across the state during the month of August. These seminars are planned especially for companies enrolled in AgriTrust and their independent insurance agents. Visit www.agritrust.biz for more information.
 Dates include:
  • August 2 - Tifton, UGA Tifton Conference Center - 9:00 a.m.
  • August 2 - Albany, Doublegate Country Club - 12:00 noon
  • August 3 - Thomasville, The Plaza Restaurant - 12:00 noon
  • August 9 - Statesboro, Bulloch Fertilizer Co. - 12:00 noon
  • August 10 - Lyons, Railroad Depot - 12:00 noon
  • August 16 - Perry, GA National Fairgrounds - 12:00 noon
  • August 17 - Dawsonville, United Community Bank - 12:00 noon
  • August 24 - Forest Park, GA Grown Welcome Center - 12:00 noon
  • August 24 - Athens, Holiday Inn - 6:00 p.m.
PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING AVAILABLE
GAC is proud to partner with Asmark in delivering their compliance services to the industry. These services help ensure that their customers are ready for anything OSHA, EPA or any other regulatory agency has to throw at the industry. The Asmark Institute is an indispensable part of the ag retail industry. One of the many benefits provided is their Applicator Training Course. A great challenge farm centers face today is hiring and properly training professional applicators. The Asmark Institute has developed this course specifically for new applicators. Classes will start in August. Click here for more information.
QUICK NOTES

* Mark your calendar for Wednesday, August 23 for the 2017 Ag Issues Summit. Senate Ag Committee Chairman John Wilkinson and House Ag Committee Chairman Tom McCall will once again host this event. Details on registration will be made available soon. GAC is pleased to be a sponsor along with the Georgia Urban Ag Council, Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Poultry Federation. 

* We were saddened to hear of the loss of Mr. Charles Hart, a GAC member with Fresh Plants, Inc. in Americus. Charles is a friend to many through the GA Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and was a dedicated part of the Americus community, including his work on the local EMC board. Please keep his family in your prayers.   
* The 76th Annual Meeting of the Alabama Seed Association held jointly with the Georgia Seed Association will be on July 9th and 10th at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Sandestin, Florida.
* Sunbelt Ag Expo will be hosting their Field Day on July 13 from 7:15 a.m. - 12 noon at Spence Field in Moultrie, GA. Click here to learn more.
* Registration is now live for the Georgia Forestry Association's 2017 Annual Conference and Forestry Expo on July 21-23 in Jekyll Island. Click here for more info.
* Congratulations to Georgia Farm Bureau on their 80th anniversary. June 17th marked the anniversary of the historic meeting at the Bartow County Courthouse that later gave way to the birth of the Georgia Farm Bureau. We are proud of the advocacy efforts and friendships shared with GFB President Gerald Long and his staff. We look forward to working together for many years to come.
* The Georgia Plant Food Educational Society will be having their summer meeting July 23rd - 26th at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Register today!

The Georgia 4-H Gala will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at the Loews Hotel in midtown Atlanta. GAC is pleased to be a table sponsor. The evening is a chance to celebrate the 4-H family while giving back to support enhanced programming for youth around the state. Click here for sponsor information.

* A new movie called "Food Evolution" is now being viewed across the country at a limited number of locations. It focuses on the science of food production and explores the real impacts of genetic modification. See the film trailer and learn more at www.foodevolutionmovie.com . 

This information is intended for members of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Inc. No part of this document shall be copied, edited, or redistributed in any form without express written consent from the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Inc.

Georgia Agribusiness Council | 706-336-6830 | WWW.GA-AGRIBUSINESS.ORG