Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members

December 2022

AgOutlook is the monthly online publication of the Georgia Agribusiness Council. For information about what is going on within the GAC as well as updates on agribusiness topics of interests, read below. As always, please feel free to contact the GAC staff at any time. Contact information can be found at


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 9th, 2022

CONTACT | Madeline Huffman

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Andrew Clyde (GA-09) led 45 of his colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh expressing concerns about a potential average hourly wage rate increase for users of the H-2A visa program.


On November 23rd, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released their semi-annual Farm Labor Report, which included an annual average fiscal-year increase across all states of 7% on the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) for 2023.


The lawmakers write: “Every farm labor region and state experienced a higher average wage rate in 2022, and now faces the risk of a substantially higher increase in the AEWR in 2023 over 2022. In a downturn economy, this would be disastrous for our states’ farmers, ranchers, and fruit and vegetable growers, often short-handed to harvest specialty crops.


“This unsustainable and unrealistic increase will have disastrous effects on our farmers and growers — in addition to the burdensome costs passed down to consumers already battling soaring inflation,” said Clyde. “My home state of Georgia alone faces an unprecedented 14% one year increase, detrimentally harming our agricultural production and unquestionably benefitting foreign competitors. I strongly urge Secretary Walsh to put American farmers, rural communities, and consumers first by retracting the recommended wage raise hike for H-2A workers.”


“Year over year, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate proves to be the biggest driver of cost increases and unpredictability in the H-2A program. These increases continue to threaten the livelihoods of our farmers. We urge the Department of Labor to take decisive steps to improve and stabilize the AEWR,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.


“GA farmers produce over 30 different fruit and vegetable commodities and all require intensive hand labor. Our only dependable labor source is through the H2-A program but this excessive wage rate increase will only result in fewer jobs being offered in Georgia. This increase will ultimately drive more jobs to our foreign competitors while making our country more reliant on foreign suppliers and harming our nation’s ability to feed itself. Rising wage rates are a reality that our growers expect and plan for but a 14%, one year increase is unsustainable. We must find a way to develop a program where growers are not waylaid by double-digit increases year over year,” said Chris Butts, Vice President of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.


“We appreciate all of the hard work that has been devoted to this extremely important issue for Georgia agriculture from Congressman Clyde and his staff. The impact of a 14% wage increase in a single year for H-2A workers in Georgia will be devastating to Georgia’s farmers and will remove over $100 million from Georgia’s rural economy. This shock comes as farmers are already facing record high input costs and a much smaller share of the food dollar. If this increase stands, I’m afraid that you will see many farmers forced out of business and more food production shifted to Central and South America, away from the American Farmer,” said Will Bentley, President of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.


“A 14% wage rate increase is excessive and puts Georgia growers at a huge disadvantage to our foreign competitors who pay their workers less per day than we pay per hour. This is a massive hit to growers on top of inflation and record input costs that will ultimately harm our rural communities by driving agricultural production out of Georgia,” said Drew Echols of Jaemor Farms.


Supporting organizations include: American Farm Bureau Federation, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Farm Bureau, Indiana Farm Bureau, Michigan Farm Bureau, and South Carolina Farm Bureau.


Co-signers include: Representatives Rick Allen (GA-12), Jim Baird (IN-04), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Buddy Carter (GA-01), James Comer (KY-01), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Scott Franklin (FL-15), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Michael Guest (MS-03), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Jody Hice (GA-10), Clay Higgins (LA-03), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large), Trent Kelly (MS-01), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Dan Meuser (PA-09), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Barry Moore (AL-02), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Greg Pence (IN-06), John Rose (TN-02), John Rutherford (FL-04), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Austin Scott (GA-08), Elise Stefanik (NY-24), Chris Stewart (UT-02), William Timmons (SC-04), Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Mike Waltz (FL-06), and Joe Wilson (SC-02). 


Full text of the letter is available HERE.


Thank you to all who were able to attend this year's Harvest Celebration! With only good news about our new location in Athens at the Classic Center, we look forward to hosting it there again next year.

Included in the evening were many honors. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, Gary W. Black was awarded the Agribusiness Leadership Award for his many years of service. Also awarded Legislators of the Year, Senator Larry Walker, III and Representative Robert Dickey. We are grateful the GAC Foundation was able to give four deserving students the "Sumpin' Big Scholarships". This event brought a huge crowd with over 750 tickets sold and we are thankful to everyone that donated or purchased items in the Silent and Live Auctions. The night was ended with The Swingin' Medallions preforming.

Thank you to everyone that had a part to make this year such a success!

Click Here for 2022 Harvest Celebration Pictures

Georgia Agribusiness Council’s 

2023 Annual Meeting 

and State Legislative Breakfast

GAC Membership Supper & Annual Meeting

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia

5:30 p.m. - Reception & Aquarium Access

6:30 p.m. - Dinner 

Keynote Speaker to follow Dinner

GAC State Legislative Breakfast

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

7:15 a.m. - Breakfast Lines Open

7:45 a.m. - Program Begins

Georgia Railroad Depot • Atlanta, Georgia

The Council looks forward to welcoming Members of the Georgia General Assembly, Constitutional Officers and leaders from every corner of state government to the GAC State Legislative Breakfast.

Headquarter Hotel:

Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center - 404/659-0000

or Click Here to make reservations

Reserve rooms under GAC block rate ($219)

by Wednesday, January 18, 2023

*Group transportation will be provided from the hotel to the breakfast

Online Registration Coming Soon!


The 2023 GAC Star Sponsor program registration is now underway. This program helps with events during the legislative session along with building support for a variety of projects and initiatives that cannot take place without the added participation. Star Sponsors are reflected in each of our newsletters, as posted on this page, along with the weekly legislative reports throughout each session of the Georgia General Assembly, monthly newsletters, and more. Click here for 2023 Star Sponsor registration information and email Jill Hansard or call the GAC office at 706-336-6830. Thank you!


Agriculture education support is a cornerstone for the mission of the Georgia Agribusiness Council as we invest in a variety of programs to build an even stronger position for our future. The GAC Foundation, our 501(C)3 organization, was started for this exact reason. Tax-free donations to the GAC Foundation are used to help young people that will serve our industry now and in the future. The Foundation supports numerous ag education programs such as the Dr. Joe B. Crane Classroom Grants, the Mr. Bill Baisley “Sumpin’ Big” Scholarship, FFA initiatives, 4-H, Congressional Fellowships, and more. With 2023 coming up fast, we would appreciate your consideration of making a donation to these educational programs. Please call our office at (706) 336-6830 for more information or click here to access the online donation form. Thank you!




Georgia Dairy Conference

January 16-18 I Savannah

For more information Click Here

Ag Technologies dba Vantage Southeast
Brooksco Dairy LLC
Bulloch Gin Inc.
Carroll EMC
DeWitt Produce Co., Inc.
Docia Farms Partnership
Embry Farm Service
Georgia Cotton Commission
Georgia Crop Production Alliance
Georgia Development Authority
Georgia Young Farmers Association
Greg Sikes Farm, LLC
Hattaway Farms Ptr.
International Forest Co., Inc.
Kelley Manufacturing Co.
LG Herndon Jr. Farms Inc.
Leatherbrook Holsteins LLC
Mercier Orchards
Mixon Seed Services Inc.
Mobley Greenhouses Inc.
NG Turf, Inc.
Nut Tree Pecan Nursery
Rural Jobs Coalition
Southern Woods Plantation, Inc.
Striplings General Store
Suttons Mill LLC
The Turfgrass Group, Inc.
TriEst Ag Group, Inc.
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
WDairy LLC

AgSouth Services, Inc.

American Peanut Shellers Association

Barrington Dairy, LLC

Bay Branch Farms, Inc.

BCT Gin Co. Inc.

Boston Gin Co.

Broken Antler Farms

Burriss Law Group, LLC

Centurion Poultry Inc.

Circle C Farms Inc.

CLW Harvesting LLC

Coley Gin & Fertilizer Co.

Cotton Partners LLC

Curry Farm Supply Inc.

Deep South Farm Center, LLC

Duvall Livestock Market, LP

Emanuel Peanut & Grain LLC

Food Safety Net Services

Funston Gin Co. Inc.

Georgia 4-H Foundation

GA Assoc. of Conservation Districts

GA Assoc. of County Agricultural Agents

Georgia Cattlemen's Association

Georgia Christmas Tree Association

Georgia Crop Improvement Assoc.

Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service, Inc.

Georgia FFA Association

Georgia Food Bank Association Inc.

Georgia Milk Producers Inc.

Georgia Peach Council

Georgia Pecan Growers Association, Inc.

Georgia Pork Producers Association

Georgia Poultry Federation

Georgia Seed Association Inc.

Georgia Vocational Ag Teacher Association

Georgia Watermelon Association

Georgia Women in Agriculture Association Inc.

Hazel Creek Cider, Inc. / Yearwood Farms, Inc.

Hillside Orchard Farms Inc.

Hulsey Farm Services

Israel Farm Supply, Inc.

J & B Irrigation Inc.


Lenox Peanut Company

Moultrie Colquitt County Development Authority

National Peanut Buying Points Assn.

Northeast Georgia Livestock

Oglethorpe Power Corporation

Omega Farms

P.G.C. Farms

Patrick Family Farms, LLC

Peebles Timber, Inc./ Longleaf LLC / Peebles Land LLLP

Pike Creek Turf, Inc.

Quality Gin, Inc.

RAJ Farms Inc.

Red Clay Ranch Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc

Samara Plantation LLC

Shealy Farms, Inc.

Shiloh Farms

Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association

Southeastern Sod, Inc.

Southern AGCOM Inc.

Southern Crop Production Association

Southern Livestock

Southern Seed Company, Inc.

Southern Specialty Equipment

Sweet Corn Co-Op

Tri-County Gin, Inc.

UGA Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication

Vidalia Onion Business Council

Wild Ridge LLC

Williams Produce, Inc.

Special thanks to all of our Star Sponsors. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 for details. Thank you!

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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