Weekly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
Volume 30, No. 1 Published by the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Inc. January 15, 2021
The Georgia General Assembly is back in action to begin the first year of the biennial legislative session. Business is being conducted under new restrictions to address the safety concerns caused by COVID-19. GAC staff is on hand for each day of the legislative session working on issues important to agribusinesses and we look forward to bringing our members these Inside Agriculture reports at the end of each week. 

Having completed four official session days, the State Capitol is quiet today as lawmakers headed home shortly after Governor Kemp's State of the State address. The week was used to elect leadership positions, hammer out committee assignments, and to shuffle office spaces as senior members upgraded their digs while freshmen take the offices left behind.

While we expect COVID-19, the State's Budget, and election related legislation to take much of the headlines over the next few months, we will be working hard with legislators to ensure that agribusiness issues are addressed along the way.

We ask that you use the newsletter as a resource to engage with legislators on issues impacting your agribusiness and please share throughout your agribusiness network.
We are excited to extend our partnership with Southeast AgNet as they help spread the word on what is happening under the Gold Dome. This is a great tool to get a quick snapshot of the week's activities throughout the session. For a recap of week 1, click here.
On Thursday, Governor Brian P. Kemp delivered his State of the State Address declaring that "the State of Georgia is resilient, and we will endure.”

The majority of the address focused on the hardships and challenges of 2020 as well as the priorities moving forward into 2021. Amidst these topics, the speech had a very agricultural undertone with numerous examples of how we can learn from farmers on how to overcome adversity by remembering the past, but focusing on the future.
Governor Kemp outlined that his priorities will include education, healthcare, and economic recovery. He proposed a $27.2 Billion budget with no additional agency budget cuts, no new taxes, and no state furloughs. Also included in the proposal were teacher bonuses to hopefully offset the difficulties of the past year.

Governor Kemp wrapped up his speech by saying, “Put 2020 in the rearview. Let’s stand together as Georgians and clear the destruction caused by the storms of life. Let’s clear away the conspiracy theories, and the division. Let’s focus on the bountiful harvest to come. Let’s find the good soil together, and start planting.”
GAC Congratulates Senator Larry Walker on being announced as the new Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. Senator Walker has been a longtime member of the Ag Committee and has been an advocate for issues of importance to Georgia’s agribusiness community throughout his time in the Senate. We look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Walker in his new role.

The Senate Press Office released the following statement upon Chairman Walker's selection. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to serve Georgia, in both new and current capacities, and I would like to thank Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan for his leadership and the confidence he has placed in me, especially to chair such an important committee,” said Sen. Walker. “Having previously served alongside my colleagues as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I understand how critically important our work is in growing Georgia jobs, especially in rural parts of our state. Agriculture, as we have seen, remains the largest industry in Georgia with an economic impact of $73 billion and an employment rate of roughly 1 in 7 Georgians. I am both honored and humbled to chair the committee that considers legislation to further this critically important segment of our economy and to consider measures aimed at advocating for the interests of Georgia consumers. Our work in the legislature extends to every county and sector, and I look forward to working with the other members of each committee to ensure Georgia remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The full list of Senate committee chairs are listed below:
Agriculture: ​Larry Walker
Appropriation: ​Blake Tillery
Banking and Finance: ​Matt Brass
Economic Development:​ Bruce Thompson
Education:​ Chuck Payne
Ethics:​ Max Burns
Finance:​ Chuck Hufstetler
Government Oversight:​ Marty Harbin
Health and Human Services:​ Ben Watson
Higher Education:​ Lindsey Tippins
Insurance and Labor:​ Dean Burke
Interstate Cooperation:​ Donzella James
Judiciary:​ Brian Strickland
Natural Resources:​ Tyler Harper
Public Safety:​ John Albers
Reappointment and Redistricting:​ John Kennedy
Regulated Industries:​ Bill Cowsert
Retirement:​ Randy Robertson
Rules:​ Jeff Mullis
Science and Technology:​ Greg Dolezal
Special Judiciary:​ Jennifer Jordan
SLOGO:​ Lee Anderson
State Institutions:​ Ed Harbinson
Transportation:​ Frank Ginn
Urban Affairs:​ Lester Jackson
Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security: Kay Kirkpatrick

“These committee chairs are uniquely qualified to develop real and lasting solutions aimed at building a better Georgia,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “The Senate will continue to prioritize diligent committee work and sound public policy, and I look forward to working closely with each one of our chairs, and their committee members, as we work to enact policies that advance both the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Georgia, and out of an abundance of caution for our members, the GAC Executive Committee has decided to postpone the 2021 Annual Meeting and Legislative Breakfast. We know that both events are an anticipated part of the agribusiness and legislative calendars and we will work to make sure that our members have opportunities to engage with lawmakers throughout the legislative session in other, socially distanced settings.

GAC Board Chairman Spencer Black released the following statement. "We thank each of you that have attended the Annual Meeting and the over 400+ people that attend the Legislative Breakfast each year for your continued support as we all work through challenging times. GAC has been a part of fighting for Georgia's #1 industry for over 50 years. We continue to keep those impacted by COVID in our thoughts and prayers and we look forward to the time when we can all gather and fellowship together in the future."
Governor Kemp and his Office of Planning and Budget released their amended FY21 budget yesterday afternoon. Lawmakers will spend all of next week hearing from agency heads and constitutional officers as they work to find common ground with the Governor's budget and add their fingerprints to their main directive of each session. Appropriations Chairmen, Terry England and Blake Tillery, will be leading the House and Senate efforts to ensure the state remains on solid financial footing while working to fund many of the services that Georgians depend on.
We are still working through the details of the 352 page report but here are a few quick highlights of positive budget increases impacting agriculture and natural resources to finish out the remainder of FY21.
  • $500,000 - To GA Dept. of Agriculture to replace 32 fleet vehicles for inspectors
  • $1,750,00 - To Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority to mitigate the operational impact of COVID-19
  • $493,580 - To DNR to increase funds for Wildlife Endowment Fund
  • $4,705,266 - To DNR to provide funding through grant and loan opportunities for land conservation, parks, trails, and outdoor recreation.
  • $8,387 - To Tifton and Athens Veterinary Labs to offset adjustments to Teacher Retirement System
  • $340,000 - To State Forestry Commission to replace 10 fleet vehicles
We invite you to attend the 2021 Georgia Ag Forecast presented by faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Keynote topics include agritourism in the state and COVID-19's impact on agriculture. 

Date: Friday, Jan. 29
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Following the keynote presentations, there will be four breakout sessions covering livestock and poultry; row crops including cotton, peanuts, grains and oilseed; green industry and horticultural crops including fruits, vegetables and tree nuts; and forestry and land taxation by faculty from UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. The full written report from UGA faculty authors will be available on the event website the day of the event. The event will also include remarks from CAES Dean and Director Nick Place.
Registration is free and open to the public, but registration to receive the Zoom webinar link is required. For more information, please refer to the news story, Facebook event and website, and share with your networks as appropriate. 
Georgia Ag Forecast is sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Georgia, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Grown. 
We look forward to your participation!
Thank you to all our member companies that were 2020 sponsor, we appreciate the outstanding support during a difficult year! The 2021 GAC Star Sponsor program registration is now underway and off to a great start. This program helps with events during the legislative session along with building support for a variety of projects and initiatives that cannot take place without the added participation. Star Sponsors are reflected in each of our newsletters, as posted on this page, along with the weekly legislative reports throughout each session of the Georgia General Assembly, monthly newsletters, and more. Click here for 2021 Star Sponsor registration information and email Jill Hansard or call the GAC office at 706-336-6830. Thank you!
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—In his nearly four years in office, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer helped move protectionism from the fringes of American policy-making to the core. His advice to the Biden administration: Stay the course.
Keep tariffs on China—all of them—even if that raises prices for U.S. businesses and consumers, he said.

Weaken the World Trade Organization so that it can’t overrule U.S. policies, and make it harder for American companies to move overseas despite the cost to their competitiveness.

In an interview, Mr. Lighthizer credited the Trump administration with taking a tough approach toward Chinese trade practices that benefited U.S. workers—ending years of accommodation by previous administrations fearful of angering Beijing.

To Read the full story, CLICK HERE.
ASMARK INSTITUTE - Safe & Sound Online Training 

The Safe & Sound Online Training Management tool is ideal for organizations seeking a comprehensive training solution that incorporates advanced technologies to help manage their employee training from start to finish, simplifying and streamlining the process.

Other features include:

  • Thirty-one ag-specific topics on DVD, licensed for on-site use
  • Manage your employee list
  • Order personalized new hire, re-hire or supplemental training kits
  • Track results on your personal dashboard
  • And much more!

Click here for more information. This link will take your members directly to our website to learn more about the Safe & Sound Online Training Management tool.
Bagwell Insurance Group, Inc.
Beaver Creek Plantation
Brooksco Dairy, LLC
Farms LLC
Doerun Gin Co. Inc.
Fort Valley State University
Hattaway Farms Partnership
International Forest Company, Inc.
Jones Cork, LLP
Kelley Manufacturing Co.
Market Grocery Company
Mixon Seed Services Inc.
Mobley Greenhouses, Inc.
SafEnvirons, Inc.
Striplings General Store - Bogart GA
The Turfgrass Group, Inc.
WDairy LLC
C. M. Tanner Grocery Co. Inc.
Cotton Partners LLC
Cromartie Agricultural Chemicals Inc.
CSA Farms, Inc.
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
Drexel Chemical Co.
Embry Farm Service/ Embry Transport
Esparza Enterprises, Inc.
G & H Harvesting Inc.
Garcia Family Harvesting, Inc.
GA Assoc. of County Agricultural Agents
Hazel Creek Cider, Inc. / Yearwood Farms, Inc.
Israel Farm Supply, Inc.
Joe Boddiford Farms
L. R. Land & Cattle Company, Inc.
Leatherbrook Holsteins LLC
Lenox Peanut Company
McCorkle Nurseries, Inc.
McIntyre Golf Development
Northeast Georgia Livestock
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Peebles Timber, Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Sconyers Gin & Warehouse Co. 
Southern AGCOM Inc.
Swainsboro Stockyard
Sweetbay Farm, LLC
Sylvania Peanut Co. Inc.
The Satsuma Company, LLC
Three Brothers Trucking, LLC
West Georgia Processing, Inc.

Special thanks to all of our Star Sponsors. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 for details. Thank you!
We're here to help you!
We look forward to helping you discover how we can help you gain knowledge in the industry through events, workshops, and webinars. Visit our website at ugaurbanag.com to begin your journey through all that we have to offer you! It's all just a click or two away! Subscribe and update your preferences today!

Do you have any special product promotions? Home delivery? Curbside pickup? Let us help get the word out. Complete this form (https://bit.ly/ag-connect) and we’ll promote it to the public through our website (https://t.uga.edu/5TB) and the social media accounts of our extensive network of county Extension offices throughout the state.
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