Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
October 2019
As most of the Southeast continues to experience above-average temperatures, precipitation is desperately needed across the region. Here in Georgia, 100% of the State is in some form of a drought or dryness ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought. As hot weather continues into October, the Drought Monitor shows that 4.5% of the state is considered to be in "extreme drought", 23.8% of the state in "severe drought", 38.4% of the state is "abnormally dry", and 33.3% being classified as in a "moderate drought". We have heard from producers in many sectors of agriculture that are being impacted by the drought. While Farmers and Agribusinesses make adjustments due to the scarcity of precipitation, we will keep a close monitor on the conditions and continue to maintain contact with government officials at the state and federal level to ensure that the impacts of the prolonged drought are addressed. 

Click HERE for information and up to date protocols.
The GAC Staff recently made a trip to the Cobb Galleria for the annual Harvest Celebration tasting. Executive Chef, Nicolas Walker and his team prepared two different salad options, three entrees, and three desserts to choose from. Walker tries to incorporate as many Georgia grown products into his menus as possible, and estimated that 85% of the dishes he served for the tasting were locally sourced. While we enjoyed all of the prepared dishes, our group made a unanimous decision on a menu that epitomizes our harvest theme. You will be sure to enjoy the food, fellowship, and festivities at Harvest Celebration. Tables and tickets are still available, you won’t want to miss this! 

Join us for the 2019 Harvest Celebration on November 22 nd at the Cobb Galleria Centre, where country music singer Jeff Carson will perform “ A Night of Country Greats ” featuring smash hits by artists such as Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and more.

The GAC Harvest Celebration 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 hope to have you attend this first-class, engaging evening that you will want to share with friends, family and co-workers. Click the button below, call the GAC office at 706-336-6830, or email Maggie Wooten at to secure your tables or tickets today.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Abe signed a preliminary U.S.-Japan trade agreement in New York City on September 25, garnering widespread praise from those in the agriculture sector who are anxious to see a deal with the lucrative export destination for U.S. agricultural products.

Under the agreement, Japan will place the same level of agricultural tariffs on U.S. goods as it places on CPTPP countries and the EU. For example, the 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will fall to the 26% placed on beef from Australia, Canada and the EU. Some other foods such as duck, geese, turkey, peaches, melons and more would enter duty-free. Once approved and implemented, over 90% of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.

Despite steep tariffs, the U.S. exported more than $3.6 billion in beef and pork to Japan last year, according to the North American Meat Institute.

The Japanese Parliament is expected to approve the agreement later this fall. It may take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2020. There is no action by the U.S. Congress necessary, as this is not a full trade agreement and does not require substantive changes to existing U.S. law.
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. This year the grant amount has increased to $1000.00. 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 10, 2019 .   Deadline extended to October 15, 2019
GAC is also proud to announce the release of the  William C. "Bill" Baisley "Sumpin' Big" Scholarship  applications for 2019 . This $1000 scholarship is offered up to three students 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, 2019.  
Georgia Agribusinesses heavily depend on commercial truck drivers for moving crops, fertilizers, finished products and other farm supplies between their farms, suppliers, and markets. GAC is calling on our members to submit comments on the proposed rule-making updates to the hours of service (HOS) regulations by Oct. 21 .

The proposed rule on HOS offers five key modifications to the existing regulations, the first two which are most relevant to agricultural retailers and anyone within the industry utilizing short haul drivers - 
  • The Agency proposes a change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
  • The Agency proposes to modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • The Agency proposes to increase flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to 8 hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty. 
  • The Agency proposes to modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10-hours off duty into two periods: an 8 and 2 split or a 7 and 3 split, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  • The Agency proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

The agricultural industry, like many others, is experiencing a growing driver shortage due to increased regulatory costs, retirements, and other economic challenges. These reforms can provide a long-lasting, positive impact for our industry without adversely impacting transporting safety. Please take a few moments to submit comments today.

The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition will celebrate its 42nd Anniversary show October 15-17, 2019. Over 1,200 exhibitors will display and demonstrate products and welcome thousands of visitors to the 100 acre 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.
A highlight of the show is the naming of the Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. After an intensive judging process, ten state winners attend the show to learn who will be selected as the overall winner. 
Education is the key component of the show with over 300 seminars and demonstrations offered over the 3-day event. These seminars and demonstrations are taught in exhibit areas for beef, dairy, poultry, forestry, pond management, equine and cattle management.
The Expo always features an array of aromas compliments of the delicious food sold within the grounds during the show. In addition, many demonstration areas, including the Georgia Ag Building, the Aquaponics display, the Georgia Peanut Commission building and the newly enhanced Georgia Grown Marketplace within the Family Living Building, host segments throughout the day with chefs and food enthusiasts alike. Be sure to stop by for a sample of some scrumptious treats.
There’s never a dull moment during the 3-day show and attendees will find there is something for the entire family.  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.”
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is open Tuesday through Thursday, October 15-17, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 (T,W) and 4:00 (Th). Admission at the gate is $10 per person per day. Advanced and discount tickets can be purchased online beginning August 1. The Show site is four miles southeast of Moultrie, GA on Hwy 133. For more information, see the show website at .
The  Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)  is a federal law which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, record keeping, and child labor standards effecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.

All employees that hold positions determined to be covered under the mandatory overtime provisions of the FLSA are covered. Overtime-eligible employees must be compensated with overtime pay or compensatory time for all hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. 

Fisher Phillips has a very informative slide deck for employers who are interested in learning more about the changes that go into affect in January 2020. To view, click here .
GAC Submits Comments on H-2A Proposed Rules
The Department of Labor is proposing to amend its regulations regarding the certification of temporary employment of non-immigrant workers employed in temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs. Amendments to the current regulations focus on modernizing the H-2A program and eliminating inefficiencies. The Department also proposes to amend the regulations for enforcement of contractual obligations for temporary foreign agricultural workers and the Wagner-Peyser Act regulations.

The Georgia Agribusiness Council has submitted comments on these proposed rule changes. The comments commended the Department’s efforts to try and modernize the current H-2A Program, however we did express our concerns with the proposal. Among the concerns, we had many suggestions regarding Wage Rate. Our recommendation was that a single farm laborer wage‐rate method would provide farms of all types and sizes operational certainty and the flexibility needed in a work environment. GAC also recommended that the Department use data and statistics to determine wage rates from the Farm Labor Survey rather than the Occupation Employment Statistics Survey. This recommendation, if implemented, would allow for Agriculture to benefit from a more specific data set instead of taking data from a survey that encompasses all of the non-immigrant and immigrant prevailing wage rate determinations.

We also submitted comments on topics involving the proposed definition of Temporary or Seasonal Nature and the proposed rule for the Abandonment of Employment or Termination for Cause. In a nutshell, our comments raised concerns with the requirements for employers when it comes to providing evidence for the necessity of labor. We urged the Department to lower the amount of evidence required in order to streamline the process.

The Comment period ended on September 24th, but GAC has requested that the DOL recognize the importance of Agriculture and the need for a better H-2A program .
Register Today for the 2019 Georgia Ag Labor Forum!

You don't want to miss this outstanding line up of Ag Labor Experts!
November 5-6, 2019
UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center
$235 per person
Includes lunch on Tuesday, November 5 and Wednesday, November 6
Hilton Garden Inn
201 Boo Drive
Tifton, Georgia 31793
$129 per night
**Room block deadline October 21!**

Session Topics
·     Preparing for a DOL Audit
·     Political Outlook -- How the Current Political Climate May Impact Ag Labor and Workforce
·     Farm Labor Contractor Basics
·     WPS Implementation Updates and Compliance Tips
·     Update on Migrate and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, MSPA
·     Learn from Court Cases on Joint Employment and FLSA Ag Overtime Exemption
·     Is H-2A an Option for Your Operation
·     Deep Dive into 2019 Proposed H-2A Rule Changes

Have Questions About WHIP+?
Join the UGA Extension and the Georgia State FSA Office for their producer meetings to answer any questions you have.

October 8, 2019 - 10-11:30 a.m.
Decatur County Extension Office
Livestock Pavilion Classroom
1300 East River Road,
Bainbridge, Georgia 39817
No Reservation Required

October 8, 2019 - 3-4:30 p.m.
UGA Tifton Conference Center - Room 19
RDC Road
Tifton, Georgia 31794
No Reservation Required

October 9, 2019 - 9-10:30 a.m.
Weir Center
307 E Bryan Street
Douglas, Georgia 31533
No Reservation Required

October 9, 2019 - 3-4:30 p.m.
Flint Energies
3 South Macon Street
Douglas, Georgia 31076
No Reservation Required

October 10, 2019 - 11-1 p.m.
Burke County Extension Office
715 West 6th Street
Waynesboro, Georgia 30830
RSVP REQUIRED , Lunch provided
Contact: 706-554-2119

October 11, 2019 - 8-9:30 a.m.
Athens-Clarke County Extension Office
275 Cleveland Road
Bogart, Georgia 30622
RSVP REQUIRED Contact: 706-546-2266 or

October 11, 2019 - 1-2:30 p.m.
Bartow County Extension Office
Olin Tatum Agricultural Building
320 West Cherokee Avenue
Cartersville, Georgia 30120
RSVP REQUIRED Contact: 706-546-2266 or

In a political environment that is rapidly changing, supporting leaders that understand and support Agribusiness has never been more important than it is today.

The Georgia Agribusiness Council was created for the purpose of advocating for agribusiness interests in the legislative and regulatory arenas. This lofty initiative continues to get harder and harder. In our efforts to advance these activities, the Council formed the Georgia AgPAC several years ago that has several functions, including:
* Financially supporting the campaigns of political candidates friendly to our initiatives;
* Educating elected officials and key decision makers on issues important to agribusiness;
* Advocacy of issues that advance our industry and communities

We ask for your support so that we can continue to fight on behalf of Georgia agribusiness interests. Campaign contributions from Georgia AgPAC is restricted to non-federal candidates in races for legislative and statewide offices.  Georgia AgPAC needs your contribution to advance this initiative. 

Your corporate or personal commitment will help us prepare today. All donations are welcome. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 or  click here to download the donation form  to be a partner in this effort. 
Barrington Dairy, LLC
Berrien Peanut Co.
Bill Hembree & Associates / Nationwide
Boddiford Farm Services Inc.
Coffee County Gin Co. Inc.
Coley Gin & Fertilizer Co. Inc.
CSA Farms, Inc.
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
Docia Farms Ptn.
Emanuel Peanut & Grain
Embry Farm Services
GA Agricultural Commodity for Tobacco
Georgia Christmas Tree Association
Georgia Seed Association Inc.
Holder Ag Consulting
Israel Farm Supply, Inc.
J & B Irrigation Inc.
Leatherbrook Holsteins LLC
Nut Tree Pecan Nursery
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Patrick Family Farms, LLC
Pineland Plantation
Quality Feedstuffs, Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Redmond's Shiloh Farms, Inc.
Sconyers Gin & Warehouse Co.
Shiloh Farms, Inc.
South Georgia Produce Inc.
Southern Seed Co.
Swainsboro Stockyard
The Dairy Alliance, Inc.
Turner County Stockyard, Inc.
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
Vidalia Onion Business Council
Walter J. Turner Farms
West Georgia Processing, Inc.
Wilkes County Stockyard
Special thanks to all of our Star Sponsors. Please call our office at 706-336-6830 for details. Thank you!

ASMARK INSTITUTE - Two Tools to Take Advantage Of

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.   
Vehicle Maintenance Central
Need help with your Vehicle Maintenance Files? You know you maintain your vehicles, but do you document it as required by the DOT? Proper vehicle maintenance and documentation results in less out-of-service time, violations and fines. VMC is a web-based tool that makes it simple and easy to track and document your vehicle maintenance files:
  • Notifications when service is due
  • SMART card makes it possible to transfer information from paper to electronic record
  • Stores part numbers for handy retrieval
  • Provides reports and archived records
  • Accessible 24 / 7 / 365
  • Designed for a wide variety of equipment
  • $225.00 Annual Subscription

Click here for more information.

The 42nd Sunbelt Ag Expo is open Tuesday through Thursday, October 15-17 , from 8:30 AM to 5:00 (T,W) and 4:00 (Th). Admission at the gate is $10 per person per day. Advanced and discount tickets can be purchased online beginning August 1. The Show site is four miles southeast of Moultrie, GA on Hwy 133. For more information, see the show website at
The Georgia Crop Production Alliance 23rd Annual Meeting and the 20th Annual GCPA Golf Tournament & Fund Raiser will be held in Tifton, Georgia on October 29th & 30th, 2019. For more information and registration click here .
The 2019 Georgia Sod Producers Field Day will be held on November 6, 2019 at Super Sod in Perry, GA. It will offer education, equipment demos and an exhibitor tradeshow. Attendees can click here to sign up today and take advantage of early-registration discount or for exhibitor and sponsorship information and registration to download click here.
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