Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
   May 2018
GAC MEMBERSHIP CONTINUES TO GROW
Thanks so much to these new members and for the many membership renewals that allow GAC to lead this great industry. With your word of mouth support and participation in our events and members services, the Council has grown to a new record of over 1,120 members. Your support is an investment in this industry and we work every day to make sure your investment provides benefits for our diverse industry. Thank you!
SAMMY KERSHAW TO PERFORM AT
2018 HARVEST CELEBRATION
Planning is underway for Harvest Celebration, which is slated for November 16, 2018 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. We are very excited to announce that the entertainer for this year will be Sammy Kershaw .

Harvest Celebration is key to the advocacy efforts of the Council, and we are very grateful for the support of this event provided by our members and industry friends. We are grateful to have our Platinum Sponsors already confirmed as momentum is growing. More information on this upcoming event and table sponsorships will be available soon.

Sammy Kershaw has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in country music history, placing over 30 singles on the charts – with eleven top 10 hits. Three of his studio albums are certified platinum, while two of his studio albums and his first greatest hits package have been certified gold. With a long list of well-known hits, we look forward to having him lead our entertainment this year.
Please mark your calendar and make plans to be part of the largest agribusiness celebration of the year. Thank you!
2018 WAS A BIG YEAR FOR GEORGIA AGRIBUSINESS LEGISLATION
Overall, 2018 was another very good year for agriculture and forestry interests. We can all be very proud of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McCall and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Wilkinson for all they did to lead and support legislation important to agriculture and forestry. We are very thankful to have them and a long list of others in the House and Senate. We highlighted the support of key legislators in our 12 weekly reports during the legislative session. We hope you will join us by thanking them now that they are back home at work in their respective districts. Listen to our summary comments on Southeast AgNet.

Here is a quick summary and status on key legislative bills we covered this session. The next week will prove pivotal as Governor Deal has started signing bills into law.
GATE: Much needed changes to the GATE program are included in HB 886 by Rep. Sam Watson . This bill will strengthen the integrity of the GATE program without any added liabilities on ag retailers. It creates a three-year card that carries a $150 registration fee, adds additional education on eligible purchases, has an enhanced application process, and increases penalties for violators. It will be signed by Governor Deal next week and goes into effect with 2019 GATE cards.
AG WATER METERING: SB 451 is expected to be signed by Governor Deal very soon. In addition to transferring the state ag metering responsibilities from GSWCC to Georgia EPD it further clarifies ag metering responsibilities without mandating burdens on ag water permittees. Key provisions include: Irrigation permits in the Flint Basin will no longer have a $250 fee and shall be automatically renewed after the 25-year term. Georgia EPD will contract the reading of all irrigation meters and requires them to also contract out irrigation meter installation, maintenance, and repairs. More changes will come in the future, but this is a good bill.
AG EDUCATION: SB 330 by Sen. John Wilkinson and Rep. Robert Dickey was signed into law on April 27 during an outstanding ceremony at the Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. This new law will provide for the Georgia Department of Education to establish an agricultural education pilot program for elementary schools to be initiated in the 2019-2020 school year. Great initiative.  
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FORESTRY: Governor Deal is expected to sign HR 51 and HB 85 this week, which provides for a c onstitutional amendment to give a much-needed update the current formula for determining the fair market value of forest land as part of the very important Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA) . It would also create a new category of taxable property for timberland, which will be evaluated by the state, not by each county. This is a great bill for rural communities, Georgia’s forestry industries and private landowners. Congratulations to the Georgia Forestry Association for championing this complex and important initiative. Rep. Jay Powell and Sen. Ellis Black played key roles in this effort. Now that it is on the November 2018 ballot, it must receive over 50% of the vote to go into effect. Watch for more information on this initiative in the months ahead. 
FY 2019 STATE BUDGET: Governor Deal is signing the FY 19 Big Budget legislation on May 2, delivering a long list of benefits to programs impacting agriculture. It includes funding a variety of rural economic development initiatives, UGA Extension, ABAC, ag education, FFA, and Georgia Department of Ag programs. Appropriations Committee Chairmen Sen. Jack Hill and Rep. Terry England provide excellent leadership for ag interests. Check out the video with House Appropriations Chairman Terry England discussing the funding for agriculture.
 
RURAL PLANNING: HB 951 by Rep. Jason Shaw which establishes the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation that is being signed into law on May 2. The center will assume the responsibilities of the Centers of Innovation Agribusiness administered by the GA Department of Economic Development while advancing efforts to enhancing rural areas. 
GA PRIMARY VOTER POLLS
With early voting already underway in the May 22nd Primary Election, which selects the top candidates for the Republican and Democratic parties, the following three polls gauge your perspective on voter participation and interest. We welcome your feedback. Thank you.


Do you plan to vote in the Primary Election, which will be held May 22?
Yes
No
Have you selected your candidate to replace Governor Deal?
Yes
No
Have not paid much attention
Have you selected a candidate for Lieutenant Governor to replace Casey Cagle?
Yes
No
Have not paid much attention
GEORGIA AgPAC MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Thank you to those that have donated to our Georgia AgPAC as we work to support elected officials that are friends of our industry.  The Georgia AgPAC Board has already distributed several checks to those that have upcoming primary elections. We have more friends that need our support. Please call our office at  706-336-6830 or  click here to download the donation form to be a partner in this effort.  We are stronger together. Thank you.
2018 CONGRESSIONAL AG FELLOWS ANNOUNCED
T he UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and several Georgia Congressional offices offer summer fellowship opportunities for students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Students serve as agricultural liaisons while in Washington, D.C. The Georgia Agribusiness Council is proud to have been a sponsor of this program ever since it started. We congratulate the 2018 Ag Fellows.
  • Johnson Collins: Agribusiness major serving in Johnny Isakson’s office
  • William Davison: Agribusiness major serving in Rick Allen’s office
  • Mason Goolsby: Agribusiness major serving in David Perdue’s office
  • William Hicks: Agribusiness major serving in Austin Scott’s office
  • Emma Johnston: Food Science major serving in Doug Collins’s office
  • Madeline Rentz: Agricultural Communication major serving in Buddy Carter’s office
  • Phyllicia Thomas: Environmental Economics major serving in Sanford Bishop’s office
Bay Branch Farms, Inc.
Cochran Oil Mill & Ginnery Inc.
Coffee County Gin Co. Inc 
Coley Gin & Fertilizer Co. Inc.
CSA Farms, Inc.
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
Docia Farms
Emanuel Peanut & Grain LLC
Embry Transport Inc.
GA Agricultural Commodity for Tobacco
Georgia Seed Association Inc.
Hattaway Farms Partnership
Hazel Creek Cider, Inc. / Yearwood Farms
Israel Farm Supply Inc.
J & B Irrigation Inc.
KAKEGA LLC
Lyle Farms, LLC
Pineland Plantation
Quality Gin, Inc.
Shellman Carriers, LLC
Swainsboro Stockyard
Vidalia Onion Business Council
Special thanks to all of our Star Sponsors. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 or   click here for details . Thank you!
GAC MEMBER SERVICES ARE PROVIDING SUBSTANTIAL BENEFITS
AGRITRUST CELEBRATES
25 YEARS
There is much to celebrate as AgriTrust enters 25 years of service to agribusiness. This is such a great milestone for GAC's program that has provided excellent workers' compensation insurance to a very diverse agribusiness industry. This successful, self-insured program has grown to cover over 700 companies and returned over $7,225,000 in dividends to date. Created by the Georgia Agribusiness Council, AgriTrust of Georgia provides a stable, affordable source of workers’ compensation insurance to the agribusiness industry. 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 contact Eddie Kinnard at 678-753-0016.
AGRIHEALTH PROGRAM SHOWING RESULTS
This innovative healthcare program led by our partners at Snellings Walters Insurance Agency has grown to 15 agribusiness companies, covering over 2,800 employees. The average savings for the pool are 12%, but one - member company experienced a savings of 30% in their first year in the program. We are happy to coordinate one-on-one meetings to discuss this program. Only agribusinesses with 40 or more employees on health insurance would qualify for this initiative, but we hope to roll out a program for other member companies later this year. Please call Tara Byrd of Snellings Walters at 770-508-3032 to learn more about drastically reshaping the future of healthcare expenses for your company.
GAC BOARD HOSTED BY UGA GRIFFIN
The Spring GAC Board of Directors Meeting was held on April 18 at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus. We would like to thank Dr. Lew Hunnicutt and his staff for hosting our group and giving tours of the new Turfgrass facilities, and the FoodPIC product development building. The meeting was joined by local legislators, Rep. Karen Mathiak and Rep. David Knight .

We also honored Darvin Eason as a Director Emeritus , a position of great prestige within our leadership team. Darvin's years of service to the Council and his stellar agribusiness career earned him this special recognition. He joins Bill Baisley and Doyle Weltzbarker with this honor. We also welcome new GAC board members Christy Manning of RW Griffin, Bill Brim of Lewis Taylor Farms, and Cader Cox of Riverview Plantation to the meeting.
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Darvin Eason was recognized as Director Emeritus by GAC Board Chairman Steve Crouch.
Board members toured food and turfgrass research facilities on the UGA Griffin Campus.
2018 FFA CONVENTION HONORS AG LEADERS
We were pleased to attend the 90th annual Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. It was our honor to be the sponsor and present the 2018 "Star in Agribusiness" award to  Owen Paulk of Irwin County. This award is supported by funds raised by the GAC Foundation.

We congratulate all of the FFA award winners as well as the outstanding Georgia Department of Education leaders and teachers that do such a great job engaging these students in agricultural career fields. Our state is fortunate to have ag education leaders that include Chip Bridges, Ben Lastly , and Katrina Jones . We also enjoyed the remarks of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on opening night of the convention. Everyone is proud of the work he is doing across the country to support and promote American agriculture.
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QUICK NOTES
*GAC is proud to partner with the Asmark Institute for quality training programs . As a GAC member, you have access to their variety of programs and tools. Asmark is recognized nationally for providing training solutions tailored to the unique needs of agricultural retailers and other related agribusinesses. Their Safe & Sound Online Training Management tool is ideal for organizations seeking a comprehensive training solution. Professional quality DVDs are geared for use with monthly, annual and new hire safety training. Asmark's 31 training subjects form the most extensive library of ag-specific subjects anywhere. Click here for more information .
* The Georgia Feed and Grain Association will have their 71 st Annual Summer Convention on June 21-24, 2018 at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Some of this years featured speakers are Allen Douglass , Risk Manager, INTL FCStone, Jody Hall , General Manager Ethanol Marketing & Trading, Flint Hills Resources, Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation and Hugh Nall , President, Southern Ag Carriers. Visit Georgia Feed and Grain Association for more information about attending or sponsorship.
* The Annual Convention of the Georgia & Alabama Seed Associations will take place July 9-10 at the King & Prince Resort on Saint Simons Island. Contact Billy Skaggs for registration information.
 * The Georgia Plant Food Educational Society will have their annual Summer meeting July 23-25, 2018 at the fabulous Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Click here for more information and registration.
* Georgia Forestry Association's 2018 Annual Conference and Forestry Expo is being held at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa in Hilton Head South Carolina on July 16-18, 2018. This conference draws a diverse crowd of forest landowners, forest-industry professionals, and forest-based businesses to learn about forest advocacy issues in our state and to network with others in the forestry community. For more information click here .
* We are saddened by the recent loss of longtime UGA Extension Weed Specialist Dr. Tim Murphy . His expertise in turfgrass and weed science is respected across the nation and especially here in Georgia. Industry professionals and students have always held him in the highest regard, both in and out of the classroom. Our prayers are with his wife, daughter, family, and his many friends.
* GAC recently presented agribusiness advocacy initiatives during a series of four regional Georgia Ag Resources Roadshow events. Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Agribusiness , led by Director Chris Chammoun , established regionally specific events that had economic developers and chamber leadership to provide a high-level overview of the resources that Georgia has to offer for agribusiness economic development. We appreciate being a part of this effort and congratulate Chris and his team for pulling it all together to help advance agribusiness development across the state.
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