May 2016
JEFF FOXWORTHY HEADLINES 2016 HARVEST CELEBRATION
Mark your calendars for Harvest Celebration on November 18, 2016 at the  Cobb Galleria Centre  in Atlanta, GA. This will be an evening to remember as we celebrate Georgia’s top industry and GAC’s 50th Anniversary in style! We are especially thrilled to announce that comedy recording artist Jeff Foxworthy will be the featured entertainment this year. 

Early bird ticket sales will begin next week and run until July 1. Early bird ticket purchasers will be entered into a drawing for one of 12 great prizes including a one-night’s stay at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel on November 18; one of three Field of Dreams ticket books; or one of eight autographed items from our featured entertainment.  Individual tickets are $150.00.

For more information about Harvest Celebration, please contact GAC’s Anna McIntyre at 706-336-6830 or  amcintyre@ga-agribusiness.org
GAC 50 YEAR MEMBERS
GAC has been fortunate through its 50-year history to be blessed with outstanding members. They have helped make the Council what it is today whether it be on a farm, ag retail center or at the State Capitol.  We are very thankful and work hard to continue to grow. Below are remarks from two of our member companies who have been around since the Council started. See what they think about GAC.

“GAC is an invaluable resource to agriculture in Georgia and its associated businesses. Our membership continues to benefit the Georgia Development Authority farm loan programs because of the contacts we obtain, the information we receive and the advocacy provided by the Council. We look forward to 50 more years of membership.” 
-Thomas Carter 
Georgia Development Authority 

Georgia Power's Community & Economic Development Organization is committed to creating wealth by bringing jobs and investment to Georgia's communities.  We are proud  members of the Georgia Agribusiness Council for these 50 years. Since the Council's inception, we have worked to accomplish our mission of advancing the business of agriculture. What a great partnership - Thank you GAC and staff for all you do to grow all of Georgia.  Happy Golden Anniversary!” 
-Jim Lovett 
Georgia Power Company

2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP
As we reported on legislation each week from the State Capitol, we saw a long list of legislation impacting agribusiness this year. Overall, we are very pleased with the bills that passed, and especially thankful that we helped defeat HB 911 that would have created a long list of mandates for ag retailers. In an effort to recap the session, we provide the following very brief summary for your review. Several legislators that work hard to support agriculture interests have opposition in the 2016 elections. Please let us know if you have any questions and please remember to go vote for agriculture! 
  • As mentioned, legislation that would have added a laundry list of mandates on ag retailers when making sales to GATE customers did not pass. It was hard fought all session - and finally defeated, but our industry has to work harder to protect this program. Click here for an updated GATE Guidance document  which has just been released by GAC.
  • The FY2017 BUDGET, signed into law on May 2, included many benefits for ag interests. Highlights include 12 new extension agents, 3 extension specialists, funds for the Athens and Tifton Vet Lab, as well as Food Animal Veterinary Reimbursement Program funding.  In addition, the Young Farmer Program received 2 new positions and also $150,000 for extended day. Click here for a video review of the 2017 budget by GAC member and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England.
  • The Georgia seed law saw changes with the expansion of the scope of those eligible to serve on the Georgia Seed Development Commission.
  • Resolutions against the Waters of the US (WOTUS) regulations were passed in the House & Senate, making strong statements about the land-grabbing regulations proposed by U.S. EPA.
  • State law was changed in time to take advantage of the federal Section 179 expense deductions passed by Congress late in 2015. This is a big benefit to a long list of agribusinesses. 
  • Off-road vehicles are now allowed to be operated on roadways if utilized for agriculture and forestry purposes, if they have the proper signage. 
  • A new law was passed stating that any avian species grown for human consumption must to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture. This was a step in the right direction for quail imports. 
  • Veterinarians are now allowed to prescribe medication to a producer without a visit, if they see a trend of disease in the area. There are many benefits to this new law to protect avian and livestock health. 
  • Workers compensation insurance saw improvements with changes. One a voluntary program to encourage work-based learning opportunities between students and employers and the other a mix of general updates to state workers compensation provisions.
  • Legislation that would have paved the way for improved licensing for livestock dealers and sale barns did not pass this year. We expect it back in 2017.
  • Likewise, a bill to provide limited liability protection for livestock operations did not received final approval this session. It would protect farmers and others from frivolous lawsuits associated with the inherent risk of being around livestock.
  • With regard to immigration, a bill that would have required those in “deferred action status” to obtain a state “driver privilege card” was defeated again this year. It’s bad policy for immigration programs.
  • Efforts to increase truck weights from the current 84,000 maximum failed to build momentum. Truck capacity is an important issue for our industry – we’ll keep working with our allies for needed progress. 
GATE GUIDANCE DOCUMENT UPDATED
GAC is pleased to support and defend the GATE program and the benefits it brings to our ag economy. Farmers, ag processors and ag retailers must continue to demonstrate efforts to eliminate program abuses or we will face increased initiatives by lawmakers and others to change it. GAC developed the GATE guidance document three years ago for this purpose and we have worked to keep it up-to-date. As the law and regulations have been clarified in recent months, we have updated the guidance document to include these changes. We have also included language about enforcement actions. This May 2016 version includes updated clarification on specific items that are not exempt. Please click here for a direct link to the updated GATE guidance document.  

GEORGIA EPD’S JUD TURNER RESIGNING JUNE 1
Governor Deal’s office recently announced Jud Turner, the state’s top environmental official, is stepping down as director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). He has served as the EPD Director since January 2012. Jud will continue to serve the state as one of the top negotiators in the ongoing water war with Florida and Alabama. The Council had a great working relationship with Jud Turner, coordinating efforts to solidify limited outdoor water use during times of drought, passed important changes to the Flint River Drought Protection Act, and engaging in a host of permitting issues for animal feeding operations and processors. We also appreciated having him as our keynote speaker at the GAC Annual Meeting in 2015. The search for his replacement is underway and we look forward to forging new partnerships to aid in agriculture’s continuing efforts to be good stewards of our natural resources while ensuring agriculture remains productive and sustainable.

Boston Gin Co.
Clay Co. and Associates 
Coley Gin & Fertilizer Co. Inc.
C.M Tanner Grocery Co. Inc
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
Doerun Gin Co. Inc.
Doug Hopkins
Georgia 4-H Foundation
GA Agricultural Commodity for Tabacco
Georgia/Florida Soybean Assoc.
H.T. McClendon Co.
Hardy Farms
IsoAge Technologies L.L.C.
Israel Farm Supply Inc.
J & B Irrigation Inc.

KAKEGA LLC
Lauri Jo's Southern Style Canning
Leger & Son, Inc.
LHR Farms, Inc.
Majors Electric & Mechanical Co., Inc.
Mercier Orchards
Mobley Gin
Mobley Greenhouse Inc.
Newcastle Trucking, LLC
Northeast Georgia Livestock. LLC
Patrick Farms
Pike Creek Turf, Inc.
Pineland Plantation
Plantation Seed Conditioners, Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Quality Feedstuff, Inc.
Russell Landscape Contractors, LLC
Segura's Harvesting
Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association

Southern Crop Production Assn.
Southern Equipment Dealers Association
Sylvania Peanut Co. Inc.
Swainsboro Stockyard
The J.L. Morgan Co, Inc.
Special thanks to all of our Star Sponsors. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 or  click here for details . Thank you!
Thank you for helping GAC membership continue to grow, now exceeding 1,000 members.

This is an excellent milestone for the Council - your dedication to GAC and our services made this growth possible. THANK YOU!

Below is a list of ne w members since January 1. Congratulations to SunTrust Bank for officially being the 1,000th member!

GAC PRESENTS STAR OF AGRIBUSINESS AWARD AT THE 2016 FFA STATE CONVENTION
The 88th FFA State convention was held April 28-30 at the Metroplex in Macon, GA, and it is always a privilege for GAC to be able to sponsor and present the Star In Agribusiness Award.  This year’s winner was Chandler Kudyk of Lowndes County High School. He has developed a landscape maintenance business that services 37 yards a month, growing his skills with record keeping, financial management and employee supervision. Chandler plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness. The FFA State Star award program recognizes FFA members with the most outstanding Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs among State Degree applicants every year.  It was great visiting with Chandler and his family and all of our friends at the State FFA Convention this year. Congrats to all of the regional winners!
2015 CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIPS FOR AGRICULTURE
GAC is a proud sponsor of UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences’ Congressional Agricultural Fellowship program. This is just one of the many programs supported through our GAC Foundation. Students selected will spend 12 weeks in Washington, D.C. this summer and have the opportunity to gain experience working with agricultural policy on a national level. Congratulations to the following students that have been selected to serve in our nation’s Capital this summer:

AGRITRUST SERVES AGRIBUSINESS
Over 600 Georgia Agribusiness Council members utilize our AgriTrust of Georgia worker’s compensation insurance program. The Council created AgriTrust of Georgia in 1992 and it serves agribusinesses from a wide range of sectors.
Workplace inspections, safety seminars and member resource materials are all readily available to those in the program. A great safety record has helped return over $5.1 million in dividends to qualified members. We encourage you to consider this proven program for your workers’ compensation insurance needs. For more information about AgriTrust of Georgia, please visit www.agritrust.biz or call Eddie Kinnard at 678-753-0016.
ONLINE TRAINING MANAGEMENT AVAILABLE THROUGH GAC
GAC is pleased to be a partner with the  Asmark Institute  to provide a variety of compliance assistance resources and employee training programs. Since 1990, more than 80,000 people across the nation have utilized the Asmark Institute for quality solutions tailored to the unique needs of agricultural retailers and other related agribusinesses. The new “Safe & Sound” online management tool delivers an innovative platform to perform, manage and track employee training. It incorporates advanced technologies, professional quality DVDs covering 31 training subjects form the most extensive library of ag-specific subjects anywhere. Click here to view the Proposal or the Sample Console for more information.
AGVOCACY
Proud to engage with many friends, members and allies as we continue to promote Georgia's strongest industry! Looking forward to more agvocacy visits in the weeks ahead.
QUICK NOTES

* The Council joined the Georgia Poultry Federation to provide an op-ed on the importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being debated in Congress. Click here to access the editorial

* GAC sent a letter this week to EPA regarding proposed label changes for the use of the herbicide paraquat. We believe the proposed changes will have a significant impact on many farms and conservation tillage practices across the state. Many of the new requirements will make it very restrictive to purchase and apply paraquat products. Click here to see the GAC letter to EPA. If you would like to submit comments, go to https://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855-0034, taking you to the comment section of Regulations.gov. The comment period closes on May 9th, 2016.

* Farm labor shortages have again reared their ugly head as paperwork for the federal H2A guest worker program are not being processed in a timely manner. Several GAC members and other farms are affected. We appreciate the work of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Senator Johnny Isakson and other elected leaders for acting on the failure of the federal government to process the paperwork in a timely fashion. Click here to read the AJC article covering this important issue. 

* The Georgia Feed & Grain Association (GFGA) is hosting their 2016 Annual Convention at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, June 23 – 26. GAC is pleased to be on the program this year. For meeting details and registration form, please visit Georgia Feed & Grain Association’s website at http://www.georgiafeedandgrain.com/index.cfm

* The Georgia Plant Food Educational Society will be having their 2016 Summer Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, July 24 – 27, 2016. Click here for more information. 

* The Georgia Forestry Association Annual Conference & Forestry Expo will be held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center in Jekyll Island, GA, on July 23-25, 2016. Click here for details.

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
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