Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
For 45 years, the GAC Harvest Celebration has served as an opportunity for our members to gather, network, support the GAC, and celebrate the many accomplishments of Georgia’s largest industry. It has also served as an opportunity for us to give thanks to our many supporters and volunteers. This year, COVID-19 has made every aspect of our personal and professional lives more challenging and unpredictable. With this public health crisis and the interest of our members in mind, The Georgia Agribusiness Council Foundation is announcing a format change for the 2020 Harvest Celebration.

In order to continue our proud tradition of gathering together to celebrate agriculture, this year’s Harvest Celebration will transition to an outdoor event to be held on the same date, November 20th, at the Meadows Gun Club in Forsyth, GA. We will be hosting an exciting Georgia Grown lunch where attendees can enjoy the family atmosphere that the Harvest Celebration is known for, while still gathering in a socially distanced setting.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in their choice of several activities throughout the day as the GAC Foundation will be hosting a sporting clays tournament, a holiday cookie decorating class, and a hands-on holiday floral arrangement demonstration that is sure to be fun for everyone in attendance. As always, our silent auction and Field of Dreams fundraisers will provide an opportunity to take home great items while supporting scholarships, ag education, and policy studies. This will be an exciting day for your entire family and agribusiness.

We are very proud of how the Council and our membership has responded to this crisis and shown leadership throughout the state. We are diligently working to ensure that the needs of our membership are met and will continue to do so on a daily basis. We hope that you will still be able to join us in supporting the Foundation through this new format as we do our best to adapt to social distancing and health requirements. 

Please note: All current Harvest Celebration ticket and table purchases will be moved to the corresponding sponsorship level unless otherwise requested.
Please send your questions or completed RSVP forms to 
Maggie Wooten by October 23rd, 2020
Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a request to the International Trade Commission to initiate a Section 201 global safeguard investigation into the extent to which increased imports of blueberries, including wild blueberries, have caused serious injury or threat thereof to domestic blueberry growers.

“President Trump recognizes the challenges faced by farmers across the country, and today’s action is just one of a number of steps the Administration is taking to support American producers of seasonal and perishable agricultural products,” Lighthizer said in a release accompanying the news.

Georgia growers and agriculture organizations have been pushing USTR and USDA to step in to stop illegal behavior from our neighbors to the south for several years. While no official solution is in sight, this is a great first step in order to protect Georgia growers from unfair trading practices. To read the full statement, click here.
The Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter announced on October 1st that they will be hosting Flavors of the Fair once in October and again in November.

"We are proud to announce that we are hosting “Flavors of the Fair!” Beginning October 15-18 and AGAIN November 5-8! During this time you will be able to enjoy some of your Fair Favorites here at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter!! This event is open to the public and everyone is invited! We can’t wait to announce who our food vendors are for this year’s celebration, so stay tuned! Can anyone guess who will be coming?! Start making your plans now, you’re NOT going to want to miss this!"

GAC is also proud to announce the release of the William C. "Bill" Baisley "Sumpin' Big" Scholarship applications for 2020. 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 14, 2020. 

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 10, 2020.

DEC. 11
Only hours before the end of the fiscal year, the Senate passed a continuing resolution that will fund the government through the election until December 11. Included within the funding measure is a replenishment of Commodity Credit Corporation funds to the tune of $30 billion and a provision that the funds are prohibited from being used to provide payments or aid to fossil-fuel refiners and importers.

The expiration dates of the U.S. Grain Standards Act and Livestock Mandatory Reporting program were both pushed until December 11 under the continuing resolution. The funding measure also extended the 2014 farm bill’s hemp pilot program through September 2021, a win for the National Industrial Hemp Council and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
Payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 (CFAP 1) program are at $10.2 billion as of September 27, including $5 billion for livestock, $2.6 billion for non-specialty crops, $1.8 billion for dairy and $102 million for specialty crops.

Funds paid for cattle total $4.3 billion, followed by $1.8 billion each for corn and milk, with $600 million for hogs and $509 million for soybeans.
Payouts by state still show Iowa topping the list at $968 million followed by Nebraska ($711 million), California ($653 million), Texas ($625 million), Minnesota ($608 million) and Wisconsin ($523 million).

Payment data for CFAP 2, where signup launched September 21, “will be available in the coming weeks,” according to USDA's Farm Service Agency.
On Wednesday, the Senate cleared and the President signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through Dec. 11th. The CR also includes an additional provision that extends the current Highway bill, the FAST Act, for 12 months and transfers approximately $13.6 billion from the general fund -- yes, it will be deficit spending -- to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). This is because federal gas tax receipts are insufficient to fully fund current FAST Act obligated expenditures. From an infrastructure perspective, it is good news that surface transportation programs are fully funded for the next year.
The House late Thursday passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package that the Democratic leadership described as an update to the $3.4 trillion Heroes bill that the House passed in May.

The vote was 214 to 207, with 18 Democrats joining the Republicans in voting against it. No Republican voted for it, and 10 Republicans did not vote.
The White House proposal is currently at $1.6 trillion, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Thursday, leaving a $600 billion gap between both sides as negotiations now move to the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Wednesday that the two parties are “very, very far apart” and referred to the updated HEROES Act as “another multi-trillion dollar far-left wish list with virtually all the same non-COVID-related poison pills as their last unserious bill.”

Notably, “HEROES 2.0” includes livestock depopulation assistance and direct support for biofuels plants and cotton textile mills that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In November, Georgia voters will have the opportunity to vote on two constitutional amendments as well as a statewide referendum. The questions listed on the ballot aim to look at government fees and lawsuits, as well as property tax breaks for certain charities. The information is provided as GAC has received several requests for information on the ballot initiatives but we do not have a policy position on the amendments at this time.

Amendment 1: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

What does it mean? This amendment authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law. It would require specific purposes to be defined when a fee is approved by the legislature and also require that agencies collecting such funds provide annual reports on revenue and expenditures. Redirecting these funds would only be possible if approved by 2/3 of both the Georgia House and Senate. An example of a fee that would qualify, is the tire disposal fee. This money is supposed to be used for cleaning up illegal dumps and funding waste management programs.

Amendment 2: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?

What does it mean? In 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled on a doctrine known as "sovereign immunity". This doctrine states that state and local governments cannot be sued by citizens over unconstitutional laws without government permission. The amendment would allow for citizens to file lawsuits to overturn any law that is unconstitutional without having consent of that government.

Referendum A: Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest?

What does it mean? As stated in the question, this is a tax exemption on certain properties owned by charities for the purposes of building or repairing single-family homes. These properties would be financed by the charity and sold to individuals using no-interest loans. Once the property is sold, it would then be taxed at fair market value. The best example of a charity that would fall into this category would be Habitat for Humanity.
From The Fertilizer Institute
In August, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a policy statement regarding its safety inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic. FRA’s policy statement indicates that inspectors will follow COVID-19 policies that are consistent with Federal law, but that FRA will not follow procedures imposed by regulated entities that could include “questionnaires, waivers, or documents of any kind…as a condition of entry or access.” Given the critical work of fertilizer industry employees and the measures TFI members have taken to minimize any potential spread of COVID-19, TFI is engaging with FRA to urge a cooperative approach on this important health and safety matter. TFI, American Chemistry Council and the Chlorine Institute sent a letter to FRA to express our interest in working together to ensure health and safety at our member facilities
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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.
Brooksco Dairy, LLC
Carroll EMC
Crosby Equipment Company
DeWitt Produce Co. Inc.
Doerun Gin Co. Inc.
Ft. Valley State University
Georgia Development Authority
J & B Irrigation Inc.
Jaemor Farms
L H R Farms, Inc.
Superior Pine Products Company
The Turfgrass Group, Inc.
WDairy LLC
Agri-Business Supply Inc.
Barrington Dairy, LLC
Bay Branch Farms, Inc.
Bill Hembree & Associates / Nationwide
Boddiford Farm Services Inc.
Chester Timber LLC
Clay Co. & Associates
Coley Gin & Fertilizer
CSA Farms, Inc.
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
Docia Farms
Drexel Chemical Company
Durden Banking Company, Inc.
Easterlin Pecan Company
Edison Gin Co-Op Inc.
Emanuel Peanut & Grain
Embry Farm Service/ Embry Transport
GA Agricultural Commodity for Tobacco
Georgia Christmas Tree Association
Georgia Seed Association Inc.
H. T. McLendon Co.
Hattaway Farms Partnership
Hazel Creek Cider, Inc. / Yearwood Farms, Inc.
Holder Ag Consulting
Israel Farm Supply, Inc.
McCorkle Nurseries, Inc.
Moultrie Colquitt County Development Authority
Northeast Georgia Livestock
Patrick Farms
Peebles Timber, Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Sconyers Gin & Warehouse Co. 
South Georgia Produce Inc.
Southeastern AGRI Services, LLC
Southern AGCOM Inc.
Southern Seed Co., Inc.
Swainsboro Stockyard
The Dairy Alliance, Inc.
Wells Fargo Commercial Banking
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.
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