Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
JUNE 2017

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. 

For more information contact:
Maggie Wooten

Special thank you to our Platinum Sponsors!
Thanks for your responses last month. Here are the poll results for:
"What grade would you give President Trump on his first 100 days in office?"
A: 51%  B: 20%  C: 9%  D: 13%  F: 7%

H ere's our latest member poll. We appreciate your input: 
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 Georgia peanuts
POOR - Delta has served Georgia peanuts for over 50 years & should continue
INDIFFERENT - Delta can serve whatever they like & I can choose airlines I like
GOOD - passengers with peanut allergies shouldn't have to worry
The newly created House Rural Development Council held their first round of discussions in Tifton, May 22 & 23. It opened up with Speaker Ralston reiterating the importance of this initiative and imploring those on the Council to seriously examine all issues concerning rural Georgia and to find solutions over the coming months. Co-Chairs Terry England (Auburn) and Jay Powell (Camilla) heard from many speakers giving their presentations on issues affecting rural Georgia ranging from failing education to population decline. Much focus was dedicated to discussing the lack of broadband technology in rural Georgia. The legislature conducted a broadband study committee last year and the data is starting to come in both from state surveys and data collected from other states. One thing is clear, rural Georgia has the least amount of access to high speed internet and can negatively affect quality of life. Sadly, for many broadband experts stated, "the economics don't line up" for private companies as the overhead and implementation would far outweigh the ROI for these companies. 
This was the first of many discussions that will be held across rural areas. We will work with this council to continue to examine broadband issue as well as other challenges impacting rural Georgia as a whole. We welcome your input. Thank you.
We are pleased that over the past few weeks Governor Deal signed all of the agribusiness legislation that advanced this session. We appreciate the support of Governor Deal and his staff. Here is a quick list for your review: 
HB 290 clarifies that farm equipment leased to family farm operations is NOT subject to property tax. GAC joined Rep. Sam Watson (Moultrie) and Sen. Tyler Harper (Ocilla), along with GAC members from John Deere and Farm Credit for the bill signing ceremony with Governor Deal. 
HB 238  provides three very important changes to Conservation Use Valuation Assessment (CUVA) and Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA) programs. 1. Updates the definition of “family farm entity” that now includes ‘entities created by the merger of two or more entities which independently qualify as a family owned farm entity.’ 2. The solar panel provision allows installation on CUVA with just a one-year tax penalty for breach of the area where the solar panels are installed. 3. Provides a carve out for farm worker housing if it is provided to workers at no charge.
* SB 133, the "Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Actwill provide a $100 million fund through a partnership of private equity groups and state tax credits to stimulate economic and job growth in rural counties. See below for more info.
* HB 437 re-establishes the Agriculture Education Advisory Commission to evaluate and provide reports on the  challenges facing our state's ag education programs. Special thanks to Rep Robert Dickey (Musella) for taking the lead on this bill. 
* HB 50 provides needed liability protections for livestock interests. Only a posted hazard sign is required to receive the protections. 
We were proud to join the Southern Crop Production Association (SCPA) on their annual trip to the nation's capital. We were able to team up with many different crop protection leaders from across the southeast in meetings on capital hill. Those issues included our concern over the dysfunctional implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the re-authorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), and the reaffirmation of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as the primary guiding regulation of the pesticide industry. The visits were very productive and we are grateful that many congressmen from Georgia and across the southeast understand the importance of these issues to our industry. (Photos: Rep. Austin Scott and Rep. Sanford Bishop)
The SCPA Executive Committee, which includes GAC Vice Chairman Spencer Black and other GAC member company representatives, met personally with new  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (below). It was clear that Pruitt strongly believes that the EPA can create a regulatory environment that promotes farm sustainability and environmental stewardship. We have already seen improvement by halting some regulatory burdens that were set to be implemented in the months ahead. Also, the various federal governmental agencies and departments are beginning to work together. We expressed our interest in seeing EPA and USDA work in tandem on issues impacting agriculture.    
GAC member service programs AgriHealth and AgriTrust continue to advance in serving GAC member companies. The AgriHealth of Georgia medical insurance program is a medical captive designed to drive healthcare costs down. GAC member Snellings Walters designed this partially self-funded healthcare plan that utilizes the national Blue Cross Blue Shield network of doctors. Call the Georgia Agribusiness Council office at 706-336-6830 if you have any questions or contact Tara Byrd with Snellings Walters at 770-508-3032 for health insurance specifics about the program. We look forward to serving you.
For workers' comp insurance, GAC has provided our AgriTrust of Georgia program for nearly 25 years. This successful, self-insured program has returned over $5,925,000 in dividends to date. 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 or call 678-753-0016.

We are very pleased to have former GAC Chairman and longtime poultry industry advocate Bill Baisley selected into the UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Hall of Fame! Bill has enhanced Georgia agriculture in so many ways, none more so than his influence on people. His encouragement to always dream big led to the creation of the Bill Baisley "Sump'in Big" scholarships over a decade ago. He was GAC Board Chairman in 2003 and now serves as Director Emeritus. The ceremony for his induction will take place Sept. 22 in Athens as he is added to this hall of great leaders for our industry! Congratulations, Bill!

A.M. Bickley Inc.
Barrington Dairies
Bay Branch Farms, Inc.
Choice Wood 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.

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!

Rural Georgia poised for gains as a public-private funding initiative prepares for a $100 million pool for capital and job opportunities. The “Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act” cleared the Georgia General Assembly in the final hours of the legislative session and was signed into law by Governor Deal in May, moving a concept into a real $100 million opportunity for rural Georgia. Everything about this bill is keyed toward rural – Rep. Jason Shaw (Lakeland) and Sen. Larry Walker III (Perry) were instrumental in getting it passed; it will serve approximately 130 of Georgia 159 counties; and it targets businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The funds come by way of state tax credits combined with private equity firms. These private firms must hold a Rural Small Business Investment Company or Small Business Investment Company license in order to qualify to participate through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Georgia legislative leaders have taken this and other steps to seek new opportunities for a rural renewal and the Council was pleased to advocate for this legislation. State leaders are in the early stages of getting all of the parts in place, but progress is being made. We look forward to bringing more details about this initiative as it takes shape in the months ahead.

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. GAC has already started issuing 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!
Georgia agriculture lost two giants in May. Mr. Sam Hay, was former GAC Board Chairman and a founding director of our AgriTrust of Georgia program. He served on the GAC board from 1977 until 1994, including serving as GAC Chairman in 1988. Sam was also a strong leader for the cattle industry, including the Georgia Cattlemen's Association. For over fifty years Sam farmed in Newton County, with a dairy herd in his younger years, followed by a registered Angus herd for the remainder of his life.

Dr. Dan Daniel passed away at his home on May 18, 2017. He was known to thousands of 4-H Club members and others throughout the cattle industry, was an innovator and organizer. During his time at the University of Georgia, he revitalized the 4-H livestock program, formed the Beef Cattle Improvement Association, acted as official judge at livestock shows in over 22 states, and supervised the activities of over 40 animal scientists engaged in teaching, research, and extension work. He loved Angus cattle and was a partner with his son Randy in Partisover Ranch near Colbert, Georgia.

We join many friends and colleagues in mourning the loss of these great friends of agriculture, but celebrate lives well lived. Our deepest sympathies to these families.


* Congratulations to the following ag industry friends that will be recognized for their accomplishments during the September 22, UGA CAES Ag Alumni Banquet at the Classic Center in Athens!

Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame
Bill Baisley - former GAC Chairman
Wayne Shackelford (posthumously)

CAES Alumni Association Award of Excellence

Jimmy Hill - former GAC Chairman

J. Keith Kelly
D.J. Sheppard 
CAES Alumni Association Young Alumni Achievement Award

“Matt” Coley

"Trey" Cutts III

Farrah Hegwood Newberry

Tracy Troutman

* UGA CAES announced their AGL Class of 2017 - 2019. Congratulations to these 25 individuals who will benefit greatly from the knowledge and experienced gained from this program. The GAC Foundation is proud to help fund this program since inception. The full list can be seen here.
* The Fertilizer Institute launched their newly designed advocacy website This is a great new tool for our industry. With direct constituent interactions being the biggest influence on lawmakers, this website will be a resource for you to engage your elected officials and help be the voice of the fertilizer and agriculture industries.
* The 70th Georgia Feed and Grain Association Summer Convention will be held June 22-25 at the Amelia Island Plantation. Click here to register for the event. Be sure to book your room before May 27 in order to get the block rate. 
*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.
* 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.
* 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.

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