Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
We are getting ready for another great night of fellowship and fun at Harvest Celebration set for Friday, November 17 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta . Over 750 GAC members and friends of the industry have purchased tickets to this annual event. If you have never attended Harvest Celebration before, we encourage you to join us for a night with many of our state’s agricultural and legislative leaders. Country music group Restless Heart will be providing the entertainment for the evening and we'll have a big silent auction along with a great group of prizes in out Field of Dreams.
If you would like to attend this year’s event, tickets can be purchased b y contacting the GAC office at 706-336-6830 .
Thank you to all that have given generously to our Silent Auction and Field of Dreams. Click here to see the top prizes available in our Field of Dreams. The ticket books for the Field of Dreams are $100 each and can be reserved by calling Maggie Wooten at 706-336-6830 or email her at
Thanks for your responses last month. Here are the results:

" When it comes to educating students about agriculture, which do you think has the most value? "

1. Internships to build workplace experience and responsibility. 70%
2. Grants for teachers to bring ag education to the classroom. 21%
3. Scholarships to help cover tuition, fees, and books. 9%

Here's our latest member poll. We appreciate your input:  
What do you enjoy most about attending Harvest Celebration?
The variety of items in the Silent Auction
Seeing industry friends & colleagues
Field of Dreams prizes (tv, gift cards, cooker, mower, trips, etc.)
Entertainment (Restless Heart this year)
Getting dressed up and taking out my spouse
On October 17 and 18, we were proud to lead a group of 11 Georgia General Assembly members representing all regions of the state, both rural and urban, on a two-day Agribusiness Industry Tour . Legislators were able to see first-hand the importance of our diverse industry. For some, it was their first time seeing peanuts harvested or vegetables being packed. Even those who are familiar with ag were able to gain new insight as they met with ag industry leaders and agribusiness owners. A brief video recap is posted below .

The group toured plots and exhibits at the Sunbelt Ag Expo where they saw the developments and initiatives put forth by Georgia's Department of Agriculture through the "Georgia Grown" program, they learned how to properly birth a calf and milk a dairy cow, they heard from EPD's Marjie Dickey on the farm irrigation metering program and Reinke's Mike Mills discussed irrigation efficiency, and reviewed crop technologies for cotton and peanuts. A luncheon was held during the expo to announce the winner of the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award . Congratulations to first generation farmer from Virginia, Robert Mills. We are very proud of Georgia Farmer of the Year, Everett Williams who was also nominated. Legislators included: House Ag Chairman Tom McCall , Senate Ag Chairman John Wilkinson , Sen. Ellis Black , Rep. Amy Carter , Rep. John Corbett , Rep Buddy Harden , Sen. Tyler Harper , Sen. Rick Jeffares , Rep. Dominic LaRiccia , Rep. Jodi Lott , and Rep. Valencia Stovall .
Throughout the rest of the tour, we visited with agribusinesses around the Norman Park, Willacooche, and Douglas areas. In addition to the Sunbelt Ag Expo , we thank Southern Valley , Langboard MDF , and Premium Peanut for hosting this dedicated and attentive group of policy makers. We wrapped up the trip at the UGA Tifton Conference Center as Kim Rutland and Dr. Joe West hosted lunch for the group and discussed the vital role they played as a primary hub after the events of Hurricane Irma and they were able to board over 500 linemen and other emergency personnel that assisted in the recovery. They opened their doors in order to help do their part in getting Georgia and the entire southeast back on track. Well done!
GAC was proud to work with many other ag industry groups to shape the tour: Georgia Poultry Federation, Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Peanut Commission, Georgia Cotton Commission, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, Georgia Milk Producers, and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association . Many thanks to all for helping showcase agribusiness to these Georgia lawmakers.
The House Rural Development Council continued their statewide tour of meetings focused on hearing the challenges facing rural areas of the state. In October, they met for two days to discuss transportation and forestry related issues. Lawmakers were particularly interested in hearing about opportunities to help expand the reach of Georgia rail transportation. It was noted that rail is used to transport only 18% of goods – there is interest in seeing that grow to 24% over the next decade. Such a shift is important to help decrease congestion while still moving goods efficiently. The expansion of the Savannah Port will also have a big impact on increased truck and rail usage, so solutions sooner, rather than later, are much needed. The logistics failures by CSX this year also were noted in the discussions. For the short line systems to be effective, the service of CSX and Norfolk Southern must also be up to the task. CSX has stumbled mightily since bringing in a new CEO early in the year, but they have stated publicly that they are committed to making the needed corrections.

Forestry received a welcome focus by the Council. In addition to hearing from new GA Forestry Commission Director Chuck Williams , the meeting touched on market growth opportunities, both foreign and domestic. This growth potential requires a renewed focus on the education of engineers and construction designers for new wood product applications. Wood pellet export growth is also on the horizon as markets in Germany and across Europe strengthen. That said, there are increased workforce challenges for many sawmills and production facilities across the state. Innovative career development programs led by the forest industry have potential and could help shape other such career planning to sustain industry needs. All of these factors will be under consideration by the House Rural Development Council as the 2018 legislative session draws near.
Videos of the presentations made at the HRDC sessions are available online for your review.   We encourage you to attend a session that comes to your area later this year. For more information and future dates on the House Rural Development Council,   click here. The Council will have two sets of sessions in November to discuss regional economic development and K-12 Education.
GAC's Hunter Loggins attended the career fair put on by UGA's College of Agriculture and Environmental Science . With over 60 prominent agribusinesses and ag related industries, the fair provides an opportunity for students to network with potential employers and learn a little more about the agriculture industry from a professional standpoint. We were honored to be able to engage with over 300 bright, ambitious students to promote the GAC Foundation and to help them find their suited career paths.
The Joint Committee on Stream Buffers had its first meeting on October 12 at the State Capitol. The committee, chaired by Sen. Frank Ginn and Rep. Lynn Smith , heard from Jac Capp, Chief of the Watershed Protection Branch of EPD, and he gave a brief history of stream buffers and EPD's role in implementing buffers. The Members also were updated on the effects of buffers in the forestry industry.

This is the first step in determining if new or modified regulations are needed for the implementation of stream buffers. We will continue to monitor these discussions. Click here for more information on the committee and for the full video of the hearing.
While Georgia had zero reported dicamba-related complaints in 2017 , some states in the southeast and across the country had a different experience. So, EPA is taking new steps to help avoid the problems experienced in 2018. Monsanto, BASF and DuPont have agreed to the new requirements on the use of dicamba formulations used to control weeds in genetically modified cotton and soybeans.  The herbicides XtendiMax, Engenia and Fexapan were not restricted-use pesticides (RUP) in 2017, and recordkeeping was not required. This will not be the case in 2018. Drift management training, similar to what was conducted by UGA Extension in Georgia, will now be part of required education for all licensed applicators utilizing these products - but wait, there's more.

Additional record-keeping will also be required by EPA to improve compliance with label restrictions. Applications will be limited to when maximum wind speeds are below 10 mph (from 15 mph) to reduce potential spray drift and the times during the day when applications can occur will be reduced. Further, tank clean-out language to prevent cross contamination, as well as improving the susceptible crop language and record keeping with sensitive crop registries will also be included to increase awareness of risk to especially sensitive crops nearby. All of this in an effort to keep these products as available tools for the future of agriculture.
With the increasing nuisance of feral hogs causing detrimental effects on the state's natural resources and agriculture industries, a series of workshops has been organized to educate the public. Topics include disease issues, swine biology, economics, water quality issues, effective control techniques, transport issues, and regulations. Each meeting will also have a trapping demonstration. There is no cost for these meetings but pre-registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.

November 3 - Gainesville, GA
November 6 - Calhoun, GA
November 13 - Statesboro, GA
For workers' comp insurance, GAC has provided our  AgriTrust of Georgia  program for nearly 25 years. This successful, self-insured program has returned over  $5,925,000 in dividends  to date. AgriTrust of Georgia was created by the Council to provide 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, please visit   or call 678-753-0016.  
Understanding OSHA's requirements will save your company money - but more importantly, it will reduce the number of injuries and it may even save lives. This highly popular training has been developed specifically for agribusiness and is designed for facility managers or assistant managers, safety and health coordinators, EHS staff and personnel with responsibilities for safety and health at the facility. We encourage at least one person per facility receive this training. Sign up today to reserve the class of your choice. Click here for more information or to register .
A.M. Bickley Inc.
Barrington Dairies
Bay Branch Farms, Inc.
Choice Wood Inc.
Clay Co. & Associates
CSA Farms, Inc.
Curry Farm Supply Inc.
  Davis M. Love III and Robin B. Love  
Docia Farms
Doug Hopkins
Embry Farm Services
GA Ag. Commodity Commission for Tobacco
GA Association of Professional Ag. Consultants
Georgia Seed Association Inc.
Georgia Watermelon Association
Greg Sikes Farm, LLC
Hattaway Farms Partnerships
Israel Farm Supply Inc.
Majors Electric & Mechanical Co., Inc.
Mixon Farms, Inc.
Oak Hill Farm
Pitts Insurance Agency Inc.
Quality Gin, Inc.
Saddle Creek Farm
Shellman Carriers, LLC
Swainsboro Stockyard
Vidalia Onion Business Council
Wild Ridge LLC/Bob White, LLC/Pineywood
Special thanks to our
2017 Star Sponsors!
* The 2017 Agricultural Labor Relations Forum will be held November 7 - 8 at the UGA Campus Conference Center in Tifton. Attendees will receive the latest updates for growers, shippers, processors and other agricultural professionals regarding labor relations matters. GAC is pleased to be a sponsor. Click here to register.
* On November 14, GAC member Newton Crouch will have their grand re-opening of their Albany store to celebrate the finished repairs from the tornado earlier this year. A lunch will be provided along with door prizes and demos. RSVP by November 7 to
* GAC is proud to promote the nationwide  Trees for Troops Program , sponsored by GAC member Georgia Christmas Tree Association, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation and FedEx. The Georgia Christmas Tree Association hopes to have over 1200 trees statewide donated to the Trees for Troops program, which is a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable branch of the National Christmas Tree Association. You may make contributions to the Trees for Troops program at or .   
* The Georgia Chamber of Commerce will host a Rural Prosperity Summit on November 29 and 30 at the UGA Conference Center in Tifton. The agenda will address topics relevant to today’s challenges and opportunities in rural parts of Georgia including: homegrown entrepreneurship, talent and leadership development and retention, healthcare, and other critical areas.
* The  Georgia Urban Ag Council will be hosting their annual EDGE Expo on December 7, 2017 at the Infinite Energy Center, formally the Gwinnett Center in Duluth. This is one of the premier events for companies in the turf, landscape, golf, and ornamental industries and the Expo will feature a full day of education and CEUs. Go to for details and registration.
* The Southeastern Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be held in Savannah, GA on January 11 - 14. This is a chance to attend educational seminars and visit with vendors at the trade show. Click here to register.
* The UGA CAES 2018 Ag Forecast Seminar dates have been set. GAC is proud to be a sponsor of these great events that give a forecast for the agricultural climate in the coming year and also a recap of the prior year. Registration will be available later in the year.
  • Tuesday, January 30: Lyons (Toombs County Ag Center) 
  • Thursday, February 1: Bainbridge (Decatur County Ag Center)
  • Friday, February 2: Tifton (UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center) 
  • Monday, February 5: Macon (GA Farm Bureau) 
  • Tuesday, February 6: Cartersville (Clarence Brown Conference Center) 
  • Wednesday, February 7: Athens (The Classic Center) 
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