Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
October 2018
GAC started  the Dr. Joe B. Crane Memorial Classroom Grant Program  to deliver grant funds directly to teachers for ag education projects. It is named for longtime GAC Director and education program advocate Dr. Joe B. Crane of Valdosta. Dr. Joe was an integral part of the Lowndes County Board of Education and carried his passion for education wherever he went. We are proud to support this program that gives Georgia teachers the chance to creatively teach agriculture in their classroom. 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.  The applications are due postmarked to the GAC office by October 15, 2018 .  
GAC is also proud to announce the release of the  William C. "Bill" Baisley "Sumpin' Big" Scholarship  applications for 2018. This $1000 scholarship is offered to a student or two in need of financial assistance studying for an agricultural career at a college in Georgia. Mr. Baisley, longtime friend of GAC and Director Emeritus on our board of directors, has a passion for the future of agriculture and those looking to advance it. Bill used the phrase “sumpin big” as a way to move ideas forward. We honor him with this scholarship and look forward to helping a student that is moving our industry forward. 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 15, 2018 .  
We hope you plan to attend Harvest Celebration on November 16, 2018 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.  C ountry music powerhouse, Sammy Kershaw will serve as our entertainment - check out our promotion video . This event is key to the advocacy efforts of the Council, and we are very grateful for the support provided by our many members and industry friends. We are putting together a first-class, engaging evening that you will want to share with friends, family and co-workers.
Click the button below or call the GAC office at 706-336-6830 to secure your tickets today.
It's time for the  Georgia National Fair  to come to town in Perry! From October 4 - 14 there is always something to do! Be sure to check out the Georgia Grown Building to experience Georgia's #1 industry as you have never seen it before. For 2018, they are excited to introduce the brand new Georgia Grown Baby Barn, a unique experience allowing families the opportunity to witness the birth of calves and piglets during the 11 days of the fair. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view the Faces of Agriculture exhibit, shop for unique goodies in the Georgia Grown Pavilion, obtain great recipes and cooking tips, and visit Georgia Grown companies from across the state. And don’t forget all the interactive opportunities available for the whole family, such as online games and a tour of Georgie's Farm! Visitors will not want to miss this one-of-a-kind agricultural education exhibit.  Click here  to see the dates and times for the wide range of attractions.

The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition will celebrate its 41st Anniversary show October 16-18, 2018. Over 1,200 exhibitors will display and demonstrate products and welcome thousands of visitors to the 100 acres show site. 

Crowned as North America’s Premier Farm Show ® and the largest Farm Show in America with field demonstrations, the Sunbelt Ag Expo brings together all segments of agribusiness including farmers, educators, policy-makers, ag-enthusiasts and families. All attending the show will see the latest innovation and technology that the agriculture industry has to offer.

With all the education key components, The Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center, the crowd pleasing 600-acre research farm’s field demonstrations or this year’s State Spotlight Expo there is much to see and do. There’s never a dull moment during the 3-day show and attendees will find there is something for the entire family. There is a daily rolling Antique Tractor Parade, the American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials (the largest field of competition in recent Expo history), and even a Cow Milking Contest. Add in rural lifestyle fun, truck, tractor and ATV test drives, and the venue is perfect for rural enthusiasts.

Chip Blalock, Show Director, says, “The Sunbelt Expo is an unbelievable showcase of rural living blanketed with agriculture’s newest ideas and technologies. Its 3-days of fun, education and dreaming about agriculture’s future as we team together to feed, clothe and house a growing population around the world.”

For more information on attending see the show website at or click here  for the Official Show program featuring stories of key exhibits and technology as well as the schedule of events for seminars, demonstrations, and special events.  
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) will soon finalize necessary rule changes and contact all current GATE card holders via email and snail mail. You’ll recall HB 866 made substantial changes to GATE to help strengthen the integrity of the program. Increased fees and stronger penalties were key components captured in HB 866. In addition, GDA is working to initiate the registration process and card issuance as the new 3-year card is phased in. Please click here to see the changes in more detail.
As covered in last month’s AgOutlook, Congress was expected to vote on a new H-2C agricultural labor program called “AG and Legal Workforce Act.” Unfortunately, the bill was not brought to the floor for a vote. As almost all segments of our industry agree, the current guest worker visa program is broken and long overdue for reform. To review Representatives   Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Sanford Bishop, Karen Handel, and Rick Allen.  In addition,  Reps Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk, and Rob Woodall are either cosponsors or have expressed support for the bill, H.R. 6417. As of adjournment, we were still working to secure the support of others in the Georgia delegation. With all our U.S. house delegation up for election, now is the time to make your views know so that guest worker reform will be a top shelf item when Congress returns There is a broad national coalition of ag interests pushing for this legislation as well. We are proud to have many Georgia groups as a part of this effort.
The 2014 farm bill expired at midnight on September 30. The Senate and House versions are still stuck in conference with a long-sought compromise still needed to pass a new law. Since the House has already headed home until after the mid-term elections, it is not clear when or if a new farm bill may actually pass. USDA and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue can carry out most of the major programs of the bill as they are tied to crop years and not the federal fiscal year.

"USDA will continue to work within our authorities to provide the best customer service possible to our farmers and ranchers across the country in the interim," Secretary Perdue said. The department will "continue to implement provisions of the 2014 farm bill within the limits of the law and work with the Congress, providing technical assistance as needed, until a new bill is passed." 
House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway is set to return to Washington this week in hopes of more farm bill meetings. Conaway and our Georgia Agriculture legislators have long stressed the importance of an on-time farm bill. The legislation was supposed to offset some of the challenges and uncertainty farmers and ranchers are facing from retaliatory tariffs, low commodity prices and trends like declining farm income. "Producers don't need the additional anxiety or uncertainty of not knowing what the next five years looks like with respect to a farm bill," Conaway said Friday in a video released by the House Agriculture Committee.

While most of the items in the farm bill can continue along even without the law being reauthorized, there are close to 40 programs which no longer have funding as of October 1. These programs represent a range of initiatives, from providing support for beginning producers and organic research to assistance for veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts said last week that arrangements were being made to prevent any lapses in unauthorized programs, but as of this writing, it was still unclear how this may work.
The failure of Congress to pass a new Farm Bill upon expiration of the prior bill is not new, but it was a much-needed goal for this year’s Congress. We are sure you all will make clear the need to get the new Farm Bill across the finish line when visiting with your representatives during the mid-term elections!
How important do you believe it is for Congress to finally create a new, viable guest worker program for agriculture & forestry?
  1. Labor problems are critical and a new program is long overdue.: 89.5%
  2. Prefer we fix current programs and not create a new one.: 10.5%
What should happen with the Farm Bill?
Conference Committee should finish negotiations & forward a Farm Bill for a vote
Extended the current Bill until a new Congress is seated & then re-negotiate
This November, every Georgia voter will have an opportunity to weigh in on a constitutional amendment that will bring more uniformity and fairness to the state's property tax system for timberland owners. GAC has endorsed this initiative and we need you to join us, the Georgia Forestry Association, and others to help spread the word! A network of like-minded individuals and organizations are needed to engage others on the importance of the Fair Forest Tax amendment. Click the button below for more information and get signed up today. Thank you!
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.
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 for details. Thank you!
Trade officials struck a late-night deal on September 30 th with Canada that completes a three-way trade pact to replace NAFTA.  The Canadian section of the agreement includes significant changes to dairy import rules that had been a sticking point in the negotiations. In a joint statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland promised the pact would bring "freer markets" and "fairer trade" for farmers, ranchers and other workers.
Read the text of the agreement here .
The addition of the Canadian section with the Mexican agreement reached earlier, forms the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The entire agreement now faces Congressional scrutiny with a final up-or-down vote expected at some time in 2019. While President Trump plans to sign the agreement along with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts by the end of November, uncertainty about the makeup of the 2019 Congress, along with skepticism expressed by some in the current Congress, the final outcome of the USMCA is difficult to predict.

The U.S.- Mexico agreement had to be reviewed by more than two dozen advisory panels including committees on agriculture. Doing so met a statutory requirement under Trade Promotion Authority Law, which allows the deal to get an up-or-down vote without amendments. It is important to note that the U.S.- Mexico agreement did not include any section or process that may prompt limits or countervailing duties should Mexican fruit and/or vegetable products flood U.S. markets during Georgia’s traditional marketing period. Such a provision was much sought after by Georgia’s fruit and vegetable producers. It is unclear at this point if the reviews will be repeated now that the Canadian section has been added. To read the U.S. Mexico advisory committee reports released click here.
AgriTrust of Georgia is continuing its 25th anniversary celebration throughout this year. We always strive to provide superior service to our Fund members. For current Fund members, the September Quarterly Conference Call recording is now available on the website at . Please listen and submit the affidavit for participation credit. If you are not currently a Fund member and would like more information about AgriTrust, please call the AgriTrust office at 855/753-0016.
Congratulations goes out to Scott Angle , a former dean of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) who has been nominated by President Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Angle’s appointment would give UGA another high-level USDA connection. Former Governor Sonny Perdue also UGA graduate is U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Angle was the dean of the UGA CAES from 2005 to 2015 when he stepped down to take a job as president and CEO of The International Fertilizer Development Center.
Thank you to those that have donated to our Georgia AgPAC, as we work to support elected officials who are friends of the industry. It's not too late to donate to the AgPAC this year. The Georgia AgPAC Board has already distributed several checks but   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.
AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO) and the Asmark Institute have created a new Applicator Training Course specifically for crop protection and crop nutrient applicators with more than three years of experience. The two-day program was developed at the request of agricultural retailers and will help experienced applicators stay current with critical issues in an every-changing industry. The classroom course will be conducted at the Applicator Training Center in Bloomington, Ill., which opened in June 2017 through collaboration between the two organizations.

For more information about the Experienced Applicator Training Course or to register online, go to Registration is open for classes available in November 2018 and January, February and March of 2019. For more information about application technology available from AGCO visit your local AGCO Application Equipment dealer or
Click here for full press release document.
The Georgia Agribusiness Council is excited to announce we have appointed an Interim President to serve during the search transition. The Council welcomes Dr. John C. McKissick . Dr. McKissick started on September 6, 2018 and has been a long time Board Member of The Council. He comes to us from The University of Georgia as Professor Emeritus where he held the UGA Distinguished Professorship of Agricultural Marketing. During his 40 year career with UGA, he has worked in numerous positions as an Agricultural Economist supporting Georgia Agribusiness. State, Regional and National professional, as well as industry groups, and UGA have recognized Dr. McKissick many times with signature awards for his contributions. Post retirement, Dr. McKissick has continued his industry work in an advisory capacity with Georgia Agricultural organizations and was recently recognized by Georgia Farm Bureau for his continuing dedication to Agriculture with their Commodity Award. He notes that perhaps his most noteworthy career achievement has been that he was an invited speaker, at least once, in each of Georgia’s 159 counties! The Council is excited to have Dr. McKissick on board during this transition and we know he will do a great job.
* The Georgia Crop Production Alliance will host their annual meeting on November 8 at the Lake Blackshear Resort. This meeting is always filled with great production information by Extension specialists and industry professionals. Registration will begin soon. Go to for additional information.
* The 64th UGA Ag Alumni Association Awards Banquet will be held at the Tate Center in Athens, Georgia, on November 9, 2018. Former GAC Board member President Jimmy Carter was selected as the newest Hall of Fame inductee and is planning to attend to accept the award in person. Also receiving the Alumni Award of Excellence is GAC Member Jody Tyson Strickland. Call 706-542-2777 for tickets.
* The SCPA 2018 Annual Meeting will be held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in  Asheville, North Carolina this year. The dates for this meeting are November 11-14, 2018. For more information click here .
* The  2018 Agricultural Labor Relations Forum  will be held  November 13-14  at the UGA Campus Conference Center in Tifton. Attendees will receive the latest updates for growers, shippers, processors and other agricultural professionals regarding labor relations matters. GAC is pleased to be a sponsor of the event again this year.  Click here to register .
* The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the LARGEST educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors and suppliers.  The 2019 SE Regional Conference will be held January 10-13, 2019 in beautiful Savannah, Georgia!  Attendee registration is now open!
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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