Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
Thanks so much for those that have helped neighbors and strangers. Our prayers continue to be with members, friends, colleagues and agribusinesses all across Georgia and Florida as many grapple with the impacts from Hurricane Irma. Agriculture in Georgia saw substantial damage, but Florida’s agriculture has been devastated. For some, it will take a generation to recover, but we will recover. Our thoughts are also with those in Puerto Rico as they emerge from catastrophic losses. Please pray for those impacted by the tragedy in Las Vegas as well.
There is no doubt everyone will do what they can to lend a hand, because that is who we are. We are a blessed country. Thank you.
GAC is accepting applications for the Dr. Joe B. Crane Memorial Classroom Grant Program to deliver grant funds directly to teachers for ag education projects. 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 16, 2017.
Students can submit a William C. "Bill" Baisley "Sumpin' Big" Scholarship application for 2017. This $1000 scholarship is offered to a student in need of financial assistance studying for an agricultural career at a college in Georgia. 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 16, 2017.  
Thanks for your responses last month. Here are the results:

"What is your perspective on news of warm winters, severe rainfall, and stronger hurricanes?"

1. Weather patterns come and go. Always have and always will. 74%
2. Climate may be changing, but not necessarily because of humans. 22%
3. Human activity is changing the climate and creating many weather changes. 4%

Here's our latest member poll. We appreciate your input:  
When it comes to educating students about agriculture, which do you think has the most value?
Scholarships to help cover tuition, fees, and books
Internships to build workplace experience and responsibility
Grants for teachers to bring ag education to the classroom
Have you purchased your tickets to this year's Harvest Celebration? We are grateful for the support of this annual event and look forward to providing our industry with another great evening of food and fellowship. We'll have nearly 800 attendees, excellent prizes in our Field of Dreams, 150 items in our silent auction, and entertainment by country music sensation, Restless Heart. We hope you can attend. Please use the online order form or contact Maggie Wooten at or 706-336-6830 to order tickets.
We are grateful for the overwhelming support of our Field of Dreams reception and silent auction sponsors. We have had generous donations to the auction ranging from gift cards, electronics, and unique autographed sports memorabilia. GAC will be accepting donations, both monetary gifts and physical items, until October 21 . You may donate online or contact Maggie to make arrangements. All sponsors are recognized in the program and throughout the event space.  Please call our office at 706-336-6830 if we can be of assistance. Thank you.
On October 2, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced his long-awaited bill to create a new agricultural guestworker program. The Agricultural Guest Worker Act of 2017 (AG Act) would replace the current H-2A program and create a new H-2C guestworker program designed to meet the needs of the diverse agriculture industry. We have worked with Congressman Doug Collins in recent months to provide input along the way. We are very pleased with the bill as it now begins the markup process in the House Judiciary Committee this week. Under the bill, the guestworker program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and covers year-round employers, including dairies, nurseries, food processors, and others. Click here for a summary of the legislation. Georgia has three Members of Congress on the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Doug Collins , Rep. Karen Handel , and Rep. Hank Johnson .
The Council attended the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour on Sept. 19 - 21. Throughout this three day tour, attendees were updated on the latest news regarding the world of peanuts and were able to get a first-hand account of the entire peanut process. The tour kicked off with an overview of the 2017 crop and updates on the farm bill and food safety. Several on-site farm stops were held, including a visit to President Jimmy Carter's childhood home in Plains; we toured the UGA Southwest Research and Education Center where research is being conducted on drought and disease resistance; there was a walk-through of the Georgia Seed Development facility where the different varieties are cultivated and maintained; we also visited a peanut buying point. The tour wrapped up with a visit to USDA's National Peanut Research Lab and JLA USA where we reviewed the peanut inspection process.
We appreciate the work of the Georgia Peanut Commission , American Peanut Shellers Association , UGA , and the many other entities that helped plan and organize this tour which helps educate the media and guests on the importance of the peanut industry and how much hard work and dedication goes into the entire process. We are grateful to work with and serve this great industry.
Georgia’s ag irrigation metering program continued its march forward starting Oct. 1. Marjie Dickey serves as the Agriculture Water Project Manager for Georgia EPD and recently announced next steps in the metering program, which keys on additional meters being scheduled for installation. Under her direction, the Georgia Rural Water Association will manage contracts for the installation of up to 900 new McCrometer meters by March 31, 2018. In addition, work with Albany State University will continue as they provide site assessments and mapping of the new meter installation locations. The new project area will include more than 13 counties in southwest Georgia. Information from Georgia EPD will be mailed soon to the farms that are being reviewed for meter installation. Advancing this initiative is important for data collection on water use and showcasing the real use of irrigation on our farmland. The data is also important for future inquiries that may play a role in lawsuits filed by Florida, Alabama, and environmental activist groups that have historically misrepresented the amount of water that has been used on Georgia’s irrigated acres.
We were proud to join leaders from the ag industry and the community in Griffin on September 21 for the ribbon cutting of UGA's brand new turfgrass research facilities . With the Griffin facility being the largest, there are also new premises on the UGA Tifton and Athens campuses.
UGA was appropriated the funds by Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly through the 2014 budget and now these leading researchers have state-of-the-art facilities to keep Georgia's turf industries growing.
With UGA turfgrass covering major golf courses, major league baseball fields, and accounting for 87,000 Georgian jobs, this was a major win for this sector of ag in our state. 
Former  GAC Chair Ken Morrow of Super Sod, Inc. delivered remarks at the event, commending UGA for their valuable work and dedication. We also congratulate the Georgia Urban Ag Council on their role to advocate for this initiative. We are proud that Georgia now has world-class facilities for one of Georgia's leading industries.
On September 22 were very pleased to be in Athens with former GAC Chairman and longtime poultry industry advocate, Bill Baisley , as he was inducted into the Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame ! Bill has had an incredible impact on Georgia agriculture in so many ways throughout his long career. His fundamental idea to always think big led to the creation of the Bill Baisley "Sumpin' Big" scholarship which has helped students studying agriculture achieve academic success within the university system. He was GAC Board Chairman in 2003 and now serves as Director Emeritus . Congratulations, Bill!
In addition, former GAC Chairman Jimmy Hill received the Award of Excellence as did Keith Kelly of GAC member , Farmview Market . Additional GAC members were recognized with the Young Alumni Achievement Award. These included Farrah Newberry of the Georgia Milk Producers and Matt Coley of Coley Gin and Fertilizer . We congratulate all of those recognized for these special honors and we thank UGA CAES for an outstanding awards banquet.
The House Rural Development Council (HRDC)  held their fourth round of discussions in Metter on September 6 and 7 . The Council, led by Co-Chairs Terry England (Auburn) and Jay Powell (Camilla) heard from more medical professionals about the state of rural healthcare since it is one of the primary concerns regarding rural communities. They were given interesting insight on the successes and shortcomings of telemedicine as well as the scope of care regarding nurses. By working together in the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers hope to see several new tools emerge for improving rural healthcare, broadband access, and economic development. 

The second set of meetings scheduled for the latter part of September was canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

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 their next session in Waycross to discuss transportation infrastructure and the forestry industry.
We honor the life of service Commissioner Tommy Irvin brought to Georgia, including his 42 years at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Our organization is grateful for his engagement with Council membership during this time which forged many friendships and partnerships through the years. The following video was made by GAC staff during Commissioner Irvin’s retirement party in November of 2010. It features many of the friendships shared with Commissioner Irvin and captures his gratitude for all that attended. Thank you, Commissioner Irvin, on a job well done.
We appreciate the time and attention that many have put in to share their support of the steps taken by U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to repeal the Waters of the US (WOTUS). While the comment period deadline has closed, EPA is hosting a series of teleconferences to hear from stakeholders on the proposed revisions. The ag teleconference is scheduled for Oct. 17. Click here 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!
It's time for the Georgia National Fair to come to town in Perry! From October 5 - 15 there is always something to do! Be sure to check out the Georgia Grown building that features space dedicated solely to Georgia products, manufacturers, and agricultural businesses. Click here to see the dates and times for the wide range of attractions.
The  2017 Annual Sunbelt Ag Expo is set for October 17th – 19th in Moultrie. Being the largest trade show in North America, it is a chance to get a first-hand account on the latest advances in technology and equipment for your agribusinesses. Click here for details.
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.  
* The first meeting of the Joint Study Committee on Stream Buffers that was scheduled to take place on September 13 has been moved to October 12 at the Georgia Capitol. Property rights can often be overlooked (or ignored) in stream buffer policy discussions. We support having a study committee process to ensure property rights and environmental stewardship are considered before any new laws are created. Stay tuned...
* Georgia Plant Food Educational Society is accepting applications for the 2017 J. Fielding Reed and the Hays Family Scholarships as well as the Jimmy and Bunny Champion Academic Achievement Award . These scholarships are available to any undergraduate student at a Georgia college or university offering degrees in agriculture or closely related fields. Information regarding these awards as well as the application is available at .
* The Georgia Crop Production Alliance will have their golf tournament and annual education meeting on November 1 & 2 at Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club in Cordele, GA. Click here for more info.
* The 33rd annual J.W. Fanning Lecture will take place on Nov. 3, 2017 at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Athens. Dr. Colin Carter from the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of California, Davis and award winner from the American Agricultural Economics Association will be the guest speaker this year. His lecture is entitled “ China and the Global Food Equation .” Click here for more info and to RSVP.
* 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. .
* 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 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.
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