Weekly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
Volume 30, No. 2 Published by the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Inc. January 22, 2021
Money Talks......
The State Capitol building remained mostly empty all week long as members of the Joint Appropriations Committee held their first hearings of the biennial session. Lawmakers heard from Governor Kemp and his Office of Planning & Budget Director Kelly Farr as they presented the Governor’s proposed budget, as well as from the heads of most state agencies and departments.

While the hearings were taking place, Speaker David Ralston stayed busy ironing out all of the House Committee assignments. These committee assignments come as a relief for many lawmakers as they can now start settling in to new committees, new office spaces, and they can begin working on their legislative interests.

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.
WEEKLY SNAPSHOT WITH SOUTHEAST AGNET
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 2, click here.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE CHAIR SELECTED
GAC Congratulates Representative Robert Dickey on being announced as the new Chairman of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.

Representative Dickey has been a tireless advocate for agriculture issues at the state capitol and has served on the House Agriculture Committee for numerous years. Chairman Dickey has a passion for agriculture that goes beyond the gold dome, as he and his family own and operate Dickey Farms in Musella, Georgia. Chairman Dickey was named the 2019 Georgia Farmer of the Year. We look forward to working with him in order to advance agribusiness in this state.

A full list of House Committee Chairs are listed below:
Agriculture & Consumer Affairs – Robert Dickey
Appropriations – Terry England
Banks & Banking – Greg Morris
Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight - Lee Hawkins
Code Revision – Timothy Barr
Creative Arts & Entertainment – Matt Dollar
Defense & Veterans Affairs – Heath Clark
Economic Development & Tourism – Ron Stephens
Education – Matt Dubnik
Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications – Don Parsons
Ethics – Randy Nix
Game, Fish & Parks – Trey Rhodes
Governmental Affairs – Darlene Taylor
Health & Human Services – Sharon Cooper
Higher Education – Chuck Martin
Human Relations & Aging – Jesse Petrea
Industry and Labor – Bill Werkheiser
Information and Audits – Don Hogan
Insurance – Eddie Lumsden
Interstate Cooperation – Steve Tarvin
Intragovernmental Coordination – Jan Tankersley
Judiciary – Chuck Efstration
Judiciary Non-Civil – James Burchett
Juvenile Justice – Mandi Ballinger
Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment – Bonnie Rich
MARTOC – Mary Margaret Oliver
Motor Vehicles – John Corbett
Natural Resources & Environment – Lynn Smith
Public Safety and Homeland Security – J Collins
Regulated Industries – Alan Powell
Retirement – John Carson
Rules – Richard Smith
Science and Technology – Ed Setzler
Small Business Development – Mike Cheokas
Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care – Mark Newton
Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System – Trey Kelly
Special Committee on Election Integrity – Barry Fleming
Special Rules – Dave Belton
State Planning & Community Affairs – Karen Mathiak
State Properties – Gerald Greene
Transportation – Rick Jasperse
Ways & Means – Shaw Blackmon
GAC’S WILL BENTLEY FILMS SEGMENT WITH FARM MONITOR
GAC President, Will Bentley, recently sat down with The Farm Monitor to discuss the impact of agribusiness in the state of Georgia and what role the Georgia Agribusiness Council plays in advancing Georgia’s number one industry. Click on the video to hear what’s going on at GAC.
(Growing America) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the names of individuals who will hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.. Click Here to read the full press release.
GOVERNOR KEMP KICKS OFF WEEK LONG BUDGET PRESENTATIONS

Governor Kemp began the 2021 joint appropriation hearings with a brief tribute to all members of the legislature working and adapting to the various trials amidst the global pandemic. He praised Georgia's continued use of conservative fiscal management to best allocate funds and resources throughout the state, reporting that no state employees have been furloughed. Governor Kemp highlighted three areas of focus within the budget: K-12 education, expanding and maintaining critical infrastructure systems, and providing financial assistance to rural areas to promote innovation and economic development. Within the amended 2021 fiscal budget $647 million had been allocated for K-12 education costs, fully funding new enrollment growth, as well as, an additional $573 million allocated for the 2022 fiscal year. Kemp states that “maintaining our infrastructure while also expanding to meet the future needs of our states is critical to sustaining and accelerating economic growth” which is why he allocated roughly $200 million in the amended AFY21 and FY22 budget to upgrade transportation networks.

Rural Georgia was a prominent aspect of the Governor's budget stating “Rural GA needs long term investments that create sustainable solutions to meet the needs of their communities today and for years to come.” Over $40 million dollars were issued to establish a rural innovation fund to provide a ready pool of resources that can support innovative solutions to the changes these communities face. Similarly, the governor appropriates $20 million in 2021 and $10 million each following year to support a more reliable and robust internet network.
Economic Outlook and Revenue Estimating

Georgia’s state economist, Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, gave a brief economic outlook and revenue estimate over the past fiscal year. He remarked on various economic indexes such as labor conditions, personal income, retail sales, savings rates, rental income, and labor force growth rate. Roughly 452 million workers are employed, only short 100,000 jobs pre-pandemic in March. He notes that job loss has decreased mainly in the category of “part-time by choice workers” and should completely rebound after the pandemic ends. Personal incomes have risen due to federal government aid and data suggests that this influx of income has fully replaced money lost during the pandemic. Increased personal income will affect sales and income taxes for Georgians. Retail sales have seen a decrease, but data suggests that retail patterns have largely shifted to online sources. The savings rates of Georgians, composed of percent of disposable income, have increased as well as credit score. Similarly, credit card debt has decreased amidst the pandemic. Rental income saw a small dip but has begun to recover. Georgia’s economy overall has done favorably even during a global pandemic, however, Dr. Dorfman does warn of a decreasing labor force growth rate. He suggested that long term population growth has slowed among working-age people at 1% growth per year. Over time this pattern can decrease economic growth and state tax collections. 
AGENCY BUDGET REQUESTS

Department of Agriculture - Commissioner Black started his presentation with a statement saying, “I am blessed to be able to work with heroes too. Heroes that kept the food on our table. Heroes that produced it under very unusual circumstances.”
GDA Requests included:
  • $453,049 to increase hemp program funding so that GDA can continue to operate the state farmer’s markets
  • $530,000 to retain Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) revenue
  • $240,000 - to retain soil amendment revenue for additional personnel needs. 

Department of Public Health - Dr. Toomey is optimistic about the vaccine and has been encouraging people to get it when it becomes available to them. There have been 340,865 vaccines administered and Dr. Toomey is hopeful that mass vaccine sites will be coming available throughout the state within the next few weeks. This past year nearly everything has been federally funded and those funds come to a total of $1,035,105,524.

Department of Natural Resources - In the AFY21 budget, Commissioner Williams proposed to receive 1 million dollars to replace the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) vehicles. He then asked for an increase of $300,430,366 for the Georgia Stewardship Program so they can make the program’s trust fund whole in comparison to AFY19, and meet the law requirements for allocation, lastly, for AFY21 the DNR Wildlife Division has budgeted an increase of $493,480 to support the wildlife endowment fund. For FY22 the primary change is an increase of $400,705,266 to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship program which will go to support conservation and outdoor recreation.


Department of Transportation - Commissioner McMurry gave a brief update on various transportation patterns within the state. He indicates that rural traffic volumes have returned to normal, while urban traffic volumes have remained lower than usual. Interstate truck volumes have increased significantly than before the pandemic. This is an indicator of a strong economy as the supply chain has re-oriented to favor shipping via truck. Gasoline consumption trends have drastically reduced during the pandemic, but now is tracking back at pre-pandemic rates. Diesel consumption trends are tracking at all-time highs compared to the previous three fiscal years. Hotel fees are down 29% while highway fees are up 33%. The department of transportation is expecting federal Covid-19 relief of $322 million as well the FAST Act to be extended through 2021. During AFY21, the department of transportation asked for an additional $193,510,451 largely to contribute to capital construction maintenance. The department of transportation for the fiscal year 2022 asks for an additional $248,511,550 to aid in the continuation of GO bond debt, capital construction, capital maintenance, administration fees, and routine maintenance. Commissioner McMurray briefly discussed his state airport aid and FAA block grant programs and Georgia aviation system needs. He also discusses the replacement of twelve bridges, four new capital road projects, and upgrades of Short-line railways to Class II standard. 
Biden Administration Gets Underway with Flurry of Executive Action - The Fertilizer Institute
The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took place on Wednesday, January 20 in Washington, D.C. Hours before the noon event, the Biden transition team issued releases outlining a list of executive actions, including a number of executive orders (EO), on which President Biden and the Administration were set to act, found here and here. The first set of President Biden’s EOs has been posted on the White House webpage. 
Some EOs of particular interest to members include:
  • EO on Modernizing Regulatory Review: Asks OMB to identify ways the regulatory process can promote “public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations.” 
  • EO on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis – Orders a review of a host of regulations, reestablished the Social Cost of Carbon, revokes the Keystone XL permit, revokes a host of Trump EOs. 
  • EO on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulations: Revokes many of the regulatory process EOs of the Trump administration, including the following:
  • EO 13771 - Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs
  • EO 13777 - Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda
  • EO 13875 - Evaluating and Improving the Utility of Federal Advisory Committees
  • EO 13891 - Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents
  • EO 13892 - Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication, and
  • EO 13893 - Increasing Government Accountability for Administrative Actions by Reinvigorating Administrative PAYGO
  • EO on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government – All agencies are directed to examine how their policies and programs impact underserved communities. They are also directed to increase engagement with said communities as well as ensure their resources are deployed equally to these communities. Environmental justice will be a key component of implementing this EO.
Also circulated was the traditional Regulatory Freeze Memo that is typical of all incoming Presidents – All agencies are directed to halt any pending rulemakings as well as consider postponing the effective date for rules that have not yet been finalized.
2021 AG FORECAST 
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!
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.
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.
Bagwell Insurance Group, Inc.
Beaver Creek Plantation
Brooksco Dairy, LLC
Farms LLC
DeWitt Produce, Inc.
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.
Coley Gin & Fertilizer Co.
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
Greg Leger Farms, LLC
Hazel Creek Cider, Inc. / Yearwood Farms, Inc.
Israel Farm Supply, Inc.
Joe Boddiford Farms
KAKEGA LLC
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.
Southern Seed Company, 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!
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