Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members

August 2016
Georgia’s two Agriculture Committee Chairmen, Rep. Tom McCall  and Sen. John Wilkinson are hosting the Ag Issues Summit in Perry, GA at the National Fairgrounds & Agricenter on August 9, 2016 at  10:00 AM . Over 170 have already pre-registered. Click here for the agenda.
The meeting is free, but registration is required.   To register please contact Leigh Goff at (404) 656-5099 – or Taylor Hartshorn at 404-463-5257 – .   We hope to see you there.     
The Georgia Agribusiness Council led GAC Board members and other agricultural leaders to Washington, DC on July 6-7 to meet with the Georgia delegation and discuss current issues facing the agricultural industry. Our issues included:
  1. GMO: Urging Congress to support the bipartisan Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling and disclosure agreement and to work to ensure it is enacted without delay. We are very pleased the Senate passed the bill while we were in DC and the House followed suit the next week. Every Member in the Georgia delegation voted for it. President Obama signed this legislation into law on July 29, 2016.
  2. Worker Visas: Requesting improvements to the H-2A and H-2B programs, as well as accountability in the administering of these programs the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security. This issue has been a battle for over a decade, but we must continue to push for the necessary reforms.
  3. Overtime Regulations: Asked that the Georgia delegation push back on the new U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations on overtime. We requested that they support legislative remedies that address all areas of total compensation, which includes bonuses, commissions, comp time, housing, vehicle use, and other such factors. Several legislative remedies have been proposed. Having the regulations blocked or repealed would be the best overall outcome.
  4. OSHA & EPA Regulations: Asked that they work with agribusiness interests and seek ways to continue holding these agencies accountable for the negative impacts they are having on our industry. We support sound, fact-based decisions on product registrations and use, but the process by EPA to bring of keep these products in the marketplace is slow, uncertain and unnecessary. This includes recent actions on paraquat, atrazine and aldicarb. In addition, OSHA is classifying Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) as a storage and handling hazard just like Ammonium Nitrate. Studies recognize CAN as a non-hazardous “non-oxidizer” that, by virtue of its make-up, is not capable of an accidental explosion, yet OSHA looks the other way.
In addition to these key areas, we also touched on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations and the U.S./Canada softwood lumber dispute. While in DC, we were fortunate to meet with Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue. The Georgia House Members were also very accommodating as we met with Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Austin Scott, Rep. David Scott, Rep. Tom Graves, Rep. Jody Hice, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. Rob Woodall and Rep. Rick Allen. In addition, we met with former Georgia Farm Bureau President and now American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and his legislative team, seeking ways we can combine efforts and partner on initiatives. We were also excited to meet with the UGA Agriculture Fellows who are interning this summer in Georgia House and Senate offices this Summer.  GAC is always eager to help young people get connected and engaged in agriculture and helping fund the UGA Agriculture Fellows Program, is just one of the ways we do that.
GAC would like to wish Drew Ferguson hardy congratulations on his victory securing Georgia's 3rd Congressional District the U.S. House of Representatives. Drew is a practicing dentist and the former Mayor of West Point, GA. He is well respected by those in the agriculture community and we look forward to working on issues affecting our state and the 3rd district.  GAC has enjoyed a great relationship with retiring 3rd District Congressman, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and we are excited to continue that engagement with Drew. 
Ticket sales for Harvest Celebration have been excellent as planning for this year's event is in full swing. GAC members and past ticket purchasers who have not yet secured their seats for Harvest Celebration will be receiving invitations within the week. Stay updated on all things Harvest Celebration and join the event on Facebook. We are also currently accepting donations for the silent auction and Field of Dreams reception. All sponsors will be recognized in the program and with signage throughout the event space. Reserved tables of ten and individual tickets remain and we hope you are planning to attend. If you would like to purchase tickets or wish to contribute to the auction, you may use the online form or contact Anna Strickland at or 706-336-6830. Thank you!
Georgia 4-H State Congress was held July 26 – July 29 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. State Congress includes project competition, special events recognition, scholarship recognition and volunteer recognition. As one of the premiere events of Georgia 4-H, the event  recognizes the work of hundreds of 4-H'ers from across the state. GAC was excited to once again sponsor the Egg Preparation Contest project area. We want to extend our congratulations to Bleckley County 4-H'er Caleb Moseley for being the project winner this year, granting him the "Master 4-H'er" status. Congratulations are also in order for Chairman Tom McCall. Chairman McCall was awarded the Green Jacket Award at the Annual 4-H Banquet, sponsored by the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation. He offered wonderful words of advice to the youth and adults alike, "Don't ever forget where you came from, never quit your good work, and remember, when you look in the mirror, God only made one of those - always be who you are." On behalf of the industry, we wish to thank Chairman McCall for his leadership in the House Ag & Consumer Affairs Committee and service to Georgia's youth!  
Our friends at the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) in Washington DC, are hosting a Southeastern Ag Retail Forum in Valdosta, GA at the Rainwater Conference Center October 19, 2016. This conference will be a convenient and inexpensive way to learn more about national and regional agricultural issues.  During the conference there will be a morning meeting and also a bus will take attendees to the Sunbelt Ag Expo and then return them to Valdosta.  You will also be able to meet and talk with those that are representing agriculture at a national, regional and state level.  Representatives from ARA, GAC, Alabama Agribusiness Council, and Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association will be on hand to answer any questions and discuss current ag issues.  Click here to register.

GAC was proud to be with our friends from the Georgia Forestry Association on Jekyll Island for their annual meeting July 23-25.  The weekend was full of exhibitors and different educational sessions with guest speakers from around the country discussing  the timber industry and current issues facing the forestry world.  Special guests included Senator Johnny Isakson,Georgia State Rep. Chad Nimmer, Wayerhauser Southern Vice President Paul Davis, and Doug Britton of Georgia Tech among many others.  There was great dialogue between those attending and industry leaders. GFA President Andres Villegas and his staff did a tremendous job with the meeting and we look forward to next year.    

On July 17, 2016 AgSouth Farm Credit, as part of the national Farm Credit System, celebrated 100 years of service to agriculture and rural communities. The U.S. House and Senate both passed resolutions recognizing the Farm Credit System. Congressman Austin Scott had this to say about Farm Credit “Farm Credit is made up of dedicated Americans who understand the needs, and champion the values, of rural America. For a century Farm Credit has been providing our farmers, ranchers and rural communities with the capital they need to build and grow successfully.”  Past GAC Chairman, Merrill Folsom proudly represents Farm Credit on the GAC Board. Congratulations to GAC members AgSouth, AgGeorgia and AgFirst Farm Credit, as well as all of the Farm Credit System on 100 years of helping serve agriculture!  
The Georgia Plant Food Educational Society had their annual Summer meeting July 25-27 and GAC was excited to attend and speak.  GAC President, Bryan Tolar discussed legislative updates, GAC’s AgriHealth Program and also current politics.  GAC’s Jonathan Harding was also on hand to deliver some information about the Asmark Institute and how they can help ag retailers comply with daunting government regulations.  GPFES President Jimmy Champion and GPFES Chairman Dr. Glenn Harris did an excellent job running the program and providing valuable information to the industry and also engaging students through their scholarship programs.  During the dinner Tuesday night Rudy Hancock received the “Blair David Outstanding Service Award”.  This is a great honor and went to a true friend of agriculture.  
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.

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!

Dr. Joe B. Crane Memorial Classroom Grant Program is a wonderful reminder of the legacy “Dr. Joe” leaves behind. GAC has had the opportunity to award  $500 classroom grants to more than 38 teachers since its inception in 2000.  Dr. Joe B. Crane served on the Georgia Agribusiness Council Board of Directors for many years.  A well-known veterinarian in the Valdosta area, Dr. Crane served crucial roles on the Board of Education in Lowndes County and carried his passion for young people in Georgia with him wherever he went.  We are proud to support this program that gives Georgia teachers the chance to creatively teach agriculture in their classroom.  The applications are available August 1 and are due postmarked to the GAC office by October 14, 2016.  Any public or private school teacher in Georgia, no matter the grade level, wanting to incorporate the importance of agriculture in their lesson plans can take advantage of this opportunity for assistance in the classroom to help educate the future generation of Georgians.
GAC is also proud to announce the release of the  William C. "Bill" Baisley "Sumpin' Big" Scholarship  applications for 2016. This scholarship has assisted many students in Georgia studying agriculture and we are proud to continue the tradition. Mr. Baisley, longtime friend of GAC and Director Emeritus on our board of directors, is a legend in the poultry industry, holding numerous leadership roles over the years.  His attitude about life and passion for the future generation of agriculture speaks volumes about his character. This scholarship seeks to honor Mr. Baisley by supporting two students with similar goals. Please share this scholarship application with a college student or high school senior in Georgia needing financial assistance and studying in the areas of agriculture or natural resources.  The scholarship application is  due postmarked to the GAC office on or before October 14, 2016.  The winners will be recognized at Harvest Celebration on November 18th, this year. 

After twenty years of outstanding service to agriculture, our friend Brent Dykes left his post as Executive Director of Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) on July 14, 2016.  Brent and his wife have a passion for foster children and he will continue serving our state in the Division of Family and Children Services as a Special Projects Manager in Atlanta. During his tenure, Brent let many important initiatives for GSWCC that benefitted our industry, none more important than the irrigation metering program and the mobile irrigation lab. He instilled in his staff a passion for service to agriculture and the environment while creating a strong network of friends and colleagues all across the Georgia. We wish him and his family the very best and thank Brent for his service and friendship.
The UGA CAES Ag Forecast Seminar dates have been scheduled and below are the set dates.  These are great events that give a forecast for the agricultural climate in the coming year and also a recap of the prior year.  Be sure to sign up early as many events reach capacity quickly. 

Wednesday, January 18: Macon (GA Farm Bureau Building)
Thursday, January 19: Marietta (Cobb County Civic Center)
Friday, January 20: Carrollton (Carroll County Ag Center)
Monday, January 23: Tifton (UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center)
Tuesday, January 24: Bainbridge (Decatur County Ag Center)
Wednesday, January 25: Lyons (Toombs County Ag Center)
Thursday, January 26: Waynesboro (Burke County Office Park)
Friday, January 27: Athens (Georgia Center for Continuing Education)
*Working to live stream the Athens seminar online

Schedule for all locations - except Tifton:
9:00 am: Onsite check in and coffee
10:00 – 11:30 am: Seminar presentations
11:30 am: Networking lunch

Tifton schedule:
7:00 am: Onsite check in and coffee
7:30 am: Breakfast buffet lines open
8:00 – 9:30 am: Seminar presentations

*Congratulations to the Georgia Peanut Commission on its 55th anniversary as a leader in the industry. The Commission conducts programs in the areas of promotion, research and education. Also celebrating a milestone is Don Koehler who has been the Executive Director for 30 years. Let's all celebrate with peanut products!

The Georgia Cattlemen's Convention wrapped up another successful summer conference last weekend at Callaway Gardens. GCA members attended committee meetings on topics ranging from legislation, cattle health & well-being, production, and marketing meetings. GAC was excited to attend! 

* The UGA Women in Agriculture Leadership Initiative has been established by the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. The goal of this initiative is to expand individual networks, foster a better understanding of the vast scope of agricultural work, promote collaborations, enhance friendships and provide support. While we plan to feature women leaders in agricultural positions, these gatherings are definitely not limited to females. All faculty, staff and students as well as other interested individuals outside of the University, are invited to join the upcoming luncheon scheduled for August 5, 2016 from 11:30 am – 1 pm. The speakers will present from Room 210 in Conner Hall on the UGA Athens campus.  The event will be simulcast to audiences on the Griffin (Room 104 in the SLC) and Tifton (Room 14 in the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center) campuses. Click here to register!

* The Agricultural Labor Relations Forum will be held November 1-2, 2016 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. GAC is proud to be a sponsor of this event. The latest updates for growers, shippers, processors and other agricultural professionals regarding labor relations matters will be discussed. Hear advice from industry experts to help you engage and comply with all labor regulations. Register today!

* FIELD DAY SETS THE STAGE FOR EXPO:  GAC staff and over 100 other attendees  tour the Darrell Williams Research Farm for the annual Field Day on July 14. Field Day is a prime opportunity to get a first hand look at what you will see harvested at the 39th Annual Sunbelt Expo set for October 18th – 20th.  Farmers and agribusiness leaders viewed plots showcasing the latest cutting edge research in the growing stages. Industry representatives and university researchers delivered up-to-date information on topics such as new seed varieties, irrigation, crop protection, soil fertility, forages and precision agriculture.Check out this  video  for a sneak peak at what you will see at this year's Sunbelt Expo. 

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.

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