2021 | April 2 GMP E Newsletter
Georgia Milk Producers Weekly Enews
Georgia secures major victory in Supreme Court water wars case
By Tamar Hallerman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia scored a major victory at the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, when justices unanimously opted to dismiss Florida’s eight-year-old water rights case against the state.

In a 9-0 decision authored by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court ruled that Florida did not demonstrate that the strict water consumption cap it wanted to place on Georgia farmers was warranted.

“Florida has not proved by clear and convincing evidence that the collapse of its oyster fisheries was caused by Georgia’s overconsumption,” the court stated in its 12-page decision.

State leaders touted the ruling, with Gov. Brian Kemp calling it “a vindication of years-long effort by multiple governors and attorneys general here in the Peach State to protect our citizens’ water rights.”

The suit involves river water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin, which originates northeast of metro Atlanta and flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Justices heard the case less than six weeks ago — it was their second time reviewing it in less than four years. Read more here>>>
Agriculture AD Valorem Bill Passes in Final Hours
By GA Agribusiness Council

Chairman Sam Watson’s House Bill 498 gained final passage shortly before midnight Wednesday. The bill, as sometimes happens late at night on day 40, became entangled in the high stakes showdown between the House of Representatives and executives from Atlanta's corporate community. Chairman Watson and others were able to fight off substitute language and keep the legislation intact as Chairman Clay Pirkle presented the final language to the House for an agree vote.
 
This legislation will update the Georgia Code so that qualifying family farm entities will not be subject to ad valorem tax on farm equipment due to their business structure. Much like the issue we faced with CUVA three years ago, it would allow for entities that qualify separately to consolidate or merge in order to bear the costs of the extremely capital-intensive industry that is agribusiness.
 
This issue was brought forward by a member of the GAC board of directors last year and we are proud to have fought alongside Rep. Watson throughout the entire process. If signed by the Governor, this issue will be put before the voters of Georgia as a statewide referendum on the 2022 ballot.

Also ...

COVID LIABILITY PROTECTIONS EXTENDED
HB 112 by House Majority Whip Trey Kelley extends COVID-19 liability protections for Georgia businesses and hospitals through July 14, 2022. Since last August, the liability protections have protected businesses and health-care facilities in Georgia from frivolous lawsuits brought by people who claim to contract COVID-19 in all but the worst negligence or reckless cases. The bill was carried by Chairman Strickland in the Senate and now heads to the Governor for signature
Sen. Warnock tours Southwest Georgia Farms
By Georgia Farm Bureau

Sen. Raphael Warnock shared that he puts peanuts in his Coke. He marveled at the process through which raw cotton becomes clothing. He climbed on farm equipment and dined outside. Mostly he listened and got a one-day course on Georgia agriculture on March 31, hearing from numerous farm stakeholder organizations while touring six Southwest Georgia farms.

The ag tour, which Warnock said was his first tour since taking office, allowed producers of a wide array of commodities and from a variety of social backgrounds to share information about their crops and voice concerns about issues they face.

At a kick-off breakfast at Fort Valley State University, Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall introduced Warnock to leaders from several Georgia commodity groups, including Georgia Milk Producers, Georgia Poultry Federation, Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Peanut Commission, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Pecan Commission, and Georgia Peach Growers.

“Farm Bureau has a foot in the door with Sen. Warnock now after meeting with him and all the ag leaders in the state. We let him know that we are ready to work with him,” McCall said. “Since he is on the ag committee, and he is chairman of a subcommittee that deals with trade and risk management and commodities, it’s a very important thing that we need to be able to get to know him and communicate with him.” Read more here>>>
From Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke

Dairy producers participating in the 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program will see even higher indemnity payments for February milk marketings.

The USDA released its latest Ag Prices report on March 31, including factors used to determine monthly DMC margins and payments. Based on preliminary calculations by Progressive Dairy, the February DMC milk income over feed cost margin is just $6.22 per hundredweight (cwt), the slimmest margin since April-May 2020, when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic sent milk prices plummeting.

The small February margin triggers indemnity payments on Tier I and Tier II milk insured at all levels above $6 per cwt. Those with Tier I (5 million pounds or less of covered production history) who are insured at the top level of $9.50 per cwt will see a payment of $3.28 per cwt, following a payment of $2.36 per cwt on January milk marketings. Read more here>>>
By Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke

The USDA released December and 2020 annual “mailbox” milk price summaries, providing yet another illustration of how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted milk marketing last year. When compared to the USDA’s all-milk prices, the price differences also reflect challenges to dairy risk management. Read more here>>>
Use your skills in unexpected ways
By Caitlin Rodgers, Georgia dairy farmer, Hoard's Dairyman

A lot of dairy farms contract with genetic company representatives to do their artificial insemination (A.I.) work. The rest of the farms run bulls or do the A.I. work themselves, like we do at Hillcrest Farm.

I have been to different parts of the country where you see very few farmers breeding their own cows. I have friends I went to college with who moved off to different parts of the country and become employed by an A.I. company. They not only sell semen and other products to farmers, but they also have a schedule to go to different farms throughout the week to do their breeding. Not much of that happens around here, but it is definitely neat how farms are so different in their breeding programs.

Small “hobby” farming has become a thing around here. You tend to see these types of farms with one or two cows, a couple of pigs, a few goats, and some geese running around, acting as if they were guard dogs. It’s very interesting to see one of these hobby farms in action. I know a few that produce milk, cheese, soap, and all kinds of stuff. But at the end of the day, they are not large enough where they would need to learn how to breed, and they don’t want to keep a bull for just a cow or two. This is where I step in. Read more here>>>
Dairy Margin Coverage: What If?
By John Newton, Ph.D., AFBF Market Intel

What if the farm safety net used the mailbox milk price instead of NASS’ all-milk price? To answer this question, DMC milk margins above feed costs, monthly program payments, and total DMC program payments were estimated for 2020 using Farm Service Agency enrollment and price data alongside USDA mailbox milk price data.

During 2020, the DMC margin averaged $9.65 per hundredweight and ranged from a low of $5.37 per hundredweight in May to a high of $12.41 per hundredweight two months later in July. For a farm covering 5 million pounds of milk in DMC, program payments totaled more than $36,000, or 73 cents per hundredweight.

Substituting the mailbox milk price in the DMC margin calculation, the DMC margin would have averaged $8.34 per hundredweight and ranged from a low of $4.67 per hundredweight to a high of $10.55 per hundredweight. More importantly, DMC triggered in five months during 2020. Had DMC used the mailbox milk price, DMC would have triggered in nine months during 2020 and would have delivered nearly $29,000 in additional support to a farm covering 5 million pounds of milk. Total DMC payments for an operation covering 5 million pounds of milk would have been more than $65,000 at $1.31 per hundredweight and 80% higher than the current program design. Read more here>>>
Stimulus Bill Measures That Affect Employment
From Employment Law Bulletin, Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider & Stine, P.C.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill has significant effects on employment:
  • Unemployment Insurance - Weekly federal supplement of $300.00 per week is extended through September 6, 2021, and payments on the first $10,200.00 will generally be tax-free for households earning up to $150,000.00 per year.
  • Health Coverage - Subsidizes the premiums for individuals eligible for COBRA coverage through September for laid-off workers. C Paid Leave - Encouragement of paid leave benefits as much as $1,400.00 per week and providing tax credits for employers with fewer than 500 employees to reimburse them for the cost of the sick time. While employers are not required to provide emergency paid sick leave or emergency FMLA leave, employers who choose to voluntarily continue such leaves may claim tax credits for qualified wages paid between April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.
  • Other Provisions - A third round of stimulus payments at $1,400.00 per eligible individual which begins to phase out for those earning $75,000.00, with couples making up to $150,000.00 getting $2,800.00. Children and adult dependents are also eligible. Tax credits are expanded as well as the child tax credit increase to $3,000.00 from $2,000.00 for each child 6 to 17 years old, with children 5 and under eligible for $3,600.00.

Be sure to visit our website at http://www.wimlaw.com often for the latest legal updates, Alerts, and Firm biographical information!
PPP UPDATED AND APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED: THE LATEST ON HOW DAIRY FARMERS AND CO-OPS CAN STILL APPLY
By National Milk Producers Federation

Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the CARES Act, its second coronavirus emergency relief package response enacted in March 2020. The program was designed to help small businesses keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. PPP loans revolve around payroll costs, including employer-provided benefits. Business owners can also use a smaller percentage of each loan to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, and certain supplier costs and operational expenses. PPP loans are forgivable.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) administers the program, which agricultural businesses initially struggled to access. NMPF has worked with members of Congress to ensure dairy farmers and cooperatives have equitable access to PPP, and together have improved access for agriculture in multiple areas. Producers who were denied a PPP loan in 2020 may now qualify if the new rules address the issue that caused the initial denial of their loan. In addition, borrowers who received their loans before SBA issued later rules and guidance may have received a smaller loan then they would under the new rules. For that reason, borrowers who have not yet had their loan forgiven can now ask their lender to evaluate their initial loan application against the new rules so that additional loan funds may be provided to make up any difference.

Congress also has created a separate type of PPP loan with steeper qualification requirements for businesses that have received and spent their first PPP loan. Called “PPP second draw loans,” these separate, second loans can only be taken by businesses that experienced a 25% reduction in revenue in 2020 and already spent the entire amount of its first PPP Loan.
Interested borrowers can apply for either type of PPP loan or have their first loan reevaluated by their lender until May 31. See below and visit the Treasury Department’s PPP webpage for more information.
Other Stories to Check Out This Week >>>
GA Dairy Classifieds

TO ADVERTISE: EMAIL AD AND CONTACT INFORMATION TO FARRAH NEWBERRY at gamilkproducers
@gmail.com

Seeking fulltime farm worker at heifer replacement farm in Eatonton, GA. If interested, please contact Mike Rainey at 706-473-0730.

Seeking Beef and dairy crossed bullcalves/heifers bottled or weaned. Please contact Victoria Rowland at 404-922-0938 or 423-946-5869

Will Raise Heifers for GA Dairy Farms: Hello we are located in Southern Illinois and have an abundance of pasture and cheap feed available looking to contract with a dairy to grow heifers for them, out location offers mild climate and we are just 558 miles from Montezuma Ga. Please contact 817-528-6645 very reasonable daily rates.

For Sale- DeLaval 84 Vacuum Pump on Stand, Oil Reclaimer, 10 HP- 3 Phase Electric Motor. New Bearings, New Oil Seal, New Belts. $2000
For more Information Call Tony Strickland , 229-254-6871; deepsouthai@gmail.com

For sale - Please contact Archie Felder for more information at 803-682-3426:
  • Dairy Tech Bay Pasturizer - $4,000
  • Tidenberg Hydraulic Hoof Table (like new) - $5,000
  • Claas Silage Choppers - 960 1875 cutterhead hours, 4WD, 600 orbis, HD300 PU - $180,000
  • Koomin John Deere Corn Header adapter for Claus Silage Chopper Used - $6,000
WANTED: Peter's Cattle Co. will buy any dairy, beef, and cross, bottle or weaned, bulls, heifers or free martins. Pick up weekly 7 days a week. Chris- 470-255-8515
 
Bull Calves WANTED:  Competitive pricing with 6 day a week pickup. Brandon Mason Cattle Company 912-632-4490

FOR SALE :  We have a continuous selection of fresh and springing heifers.   Call William at   (706) 768-2857  or visit our website at   crumpdairyreplacements.org  
Farmer to Farmer Support Program Available for SE dairy farmers
Farmers across the Southeast are experiencing uncertain times like never before. All aspects of agriculture have been hit by market losses due to COVID-19, but dairy has reached a level of uncertainty that many have never experienced.

As we navigate through these next few months, dairy producers across the Southeast have come together to introduce the "Farmer to Farmer Support Program." If you find that you need support or would like to talk to a fellow farmer or industry friend, they have several volunteers that are willing and able to help. Georgia Milk Producers has also put together a packet on the program that you can access by clicking here. 

For more information on the program, please reach out to Farrah Newberry at gamilkproducers@gmail.com