Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
   September 2018
After 21 years of dedicated service to the Georgia Agribusiness Council, we say goodbye as President Bryan Tolar submitted his resignation to the Council. We appreciate everything that Bryan has helped the Council accomplish for our members, and the Georgia agriculture industry as a whole over the years. His passion for agriculture and this association was evident every day he served.

GAC’s role and commitment to this industry will not waiver and we will continue to move forward in all we do for the industry. The GAC staff will continue operations under the interim leadership of the Executive Board. Thank you for your continued support and membership.
A special appointed committee within the Executive Board is currently reviewing candidates for the now vacant President position. If you know of a qualified candidate please have them apply by sending a cover letter and resume to .
It was good to have another large crowd on hand August 23 for the Ag Issues Summit. Nearly 200 attendees packed the room to hear updates on water, ag education, GATE, and rural development initiatives underway. We appreciate the leadership and staff of Senate Ag Committee Chairman John Wilkinson and House Ag Committee Chairman Tom McCall to pull the event together. It is always great to have many lawmakers attend and engage with ag industry allies and educators during this annual event. GAC was pleased to be among the sponsor organizations. Special thanks to Stephen Shimp and the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter for hosting the event.
Attorney Jud Turner provided an update on legal initiatives related to agricultural water use.
(l-r) Senator John Wilkinson, GAC President Bryan Tolar, and Representative Tom McCall.
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.
Now that congress is back at work following their August meeting schedules, the U.S. House should be facing a vote on legislation creating a new federal  H-2C ag labor program called the “AG and Legal Workforce Act.”  You may recall this is an issue GAC and other ag industry partners pushed for during our DC meetings in July. During those meetings, we stressed that the struggles for a viable workforce in agriculture, landscaping, and forestry are not new, but the pressures of obtaining a workforce are growing substantially. Support of this new H-2C guestworker program has continued to grow from Georgia leaders and others across the nation.  So far, Georgia has five co-sponsors, consisting of Reps. Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Sanford Bishop, Karen Handel, and Rick Allen.  In addition,  Reps Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk, and Rob Woodall  have already agreed to support the bill when it reaches the House floor.

The “Ag and Legal Workforce Act” would create a new federal H-2C guest worker program managed by USDA and includes many improvements from the broken current guest worker visa programs. This new program will better serve the workforce needs of our industry in the future. It contains numerous key elements lacking in the current H-2A guest worker program used by farmers, including allowing dairy farms to use the program, and could also take some pressure off the labor cap in the H-2B program used in forestry and landscaping.

We are still working to secure the support of others in the Georgia delegation, including Reps. Buddy Carter, David Scott, Tom Graves, Hank Johnson, John Lewis, and Jody Hice. Please help this effort by asking them to support H.R. 6417 . 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. This new program is needed now more than ever.
  1. The online format is a convenient way to look up other GAC member contacts: 20%
  2. Have not yet utilized it. (Please check it out & let us know if we can help): 80%
How important do you believe it is for Congress to finally create a new, viable guest worker program for agriculture & forestry?
Please select from the following:
Labor problems are critical and a new program is long overdue.
Prefer we fix current programs and not create a new one.
Labor challenges will take care of themselves. We don't need any help.
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 it. Please click here to see the changes in more detail.
Over the past eight months, GAC has joined many in the ag industry in being very vocal about the real concerns that exist with the compliance of the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) requirements. One way to soften the impact of ELD challenges is with relief through the Hours of Service (HOS) exemption provided to agriculture. With that in mind, in mid-August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a rulemaking process seeking public comment to determine if potential revisions to HOS rules for interstate truck drivers could reduce unnecessary burdens placed on motor carrier drivers without compromising safety. Go to FMCSA’s announcement to learn more about the proposed changes. We appreciate the partnership with The Fertilizer Institute and the Ag Retailers Association as we work on these very important issues.
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 w e 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!

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.  
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!
We were proud to join GAC member CM Tanner Grocery Company of Carrollton, GA , on their 125th Anniversary this summer. Amazing history in agriculture and consumer goods for businesses and communities west of metro Atlanta. Congratulations to Johnny Tanner and his family on this amazing milestone! 
There is much history in the store and warehouse of this family run business.
Johnny Tanner speaks with Denney Rogers and guests visiting for the celebration.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ordered EPA to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the U.S. within sixty days. This ruling applies to all cropping systems and all products containing chlorpyrifos. Three judges reviewed the suit, known as League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wheeler, and the decision was split 2-1. GAC recently submitted a letter to U.S. EPA regarding the importance of chlorpyrifos and the role it plays in agriculture. This important pesticide, first introduced in 1965, transformed modern agriculture. Sadly, earlier this year, EPA released a flawed report by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biological opinion issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. The report is not scientifically sound and developed without consultation of growers or registrants in the United States. Chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient in products that protect our crops from damaging pests and is registered in about 100 countries around the world. EPA's biological evaluation for chlorpyrifos was overly conservative. We know chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are essential tools for our Georgia growers. 
GAC is proud to partner with the Asmark Institute for quality training and compliance programs. ResponsibleAg is an industry-led initiative committed to helping agribusinesses properly store and handle farm input supplies. The program helps ensure these ag facilities are compliant with environmental, health, safety and security regulations. Across the nation, over 2,500 of these facilities have registered with the ResponsibleAg Certification Program. We encourage you to register your facilities today. For more information, go to:
AgriTrust of Georgia serves GAC members by providing 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 and these upcoming seminars. visit or contact Eddie Kinnard at 678-753-0016.
The  Sunbelt Ag Expo  will be held October 16-18, 2018. As always we look forward to this premier event and hope to see you there. For more information exhibiting or attending this event please click here .
* The 18th Annual ABAC Ag & Natural Resources Classic Golf Tournament with be held on Friday, September 28, 2018. GAC is proud to be a sponsor of this event each year. This golf tournament helps benefit students of the ABAC School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. For more information click here .
* 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. Registration will open later this summer. President Jimmy Carter was selected as the newest Hall of Fame inductee and is planning to attend to accept the award in person. Stay tuned for registration details.
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 will open September 17, 2018!
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