Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
Our prayers are with the regions impacted by recent hurricanes as well as those still in harms way. Farm and agribusiness allies, among others, have been severly impacted. Please stay current on the direction of Hurricane Irma and provide aid to those impacted if you are able.
Thank you and God bless.
It was great to be with industry leaders to help sponsor the 2017 Ag Issues Summit in Tifton at the Museum of Agriculture. We thank the Senate and House Ag Chairmen, Sen John Wilkinson and Rep. Tom McCall for leading the Summit and the discussions focusing on the future of ag and ag policy in our state. Over 200 people, including many legislators, were in attendance to hear from a wide range of individuals involved with the industry. There was an update on GATE showing that the Dept. of Ag is doing an excellent job educating retailers on what is GATE compliant. Click here to view the guidance document. It was good to hear from Mark Masters on how new technology is helping with water use conservation and from Marjie Dickey on how the EPD is working closely with agriculture and business on irrigation metering. Rep. Sam Watson and Sen. Dean Burke addressed efforts to improve economic development opportunities for rural Georgia. In addition, Wesley Langdale addressed the group on the importance of ag education and gave us an update on ABAC's Destination Ag program. We appreciate Garrett Boone and his staff at ABAC's Museum of Agriculture for helping facilitate this event and the Destination Ag initiatives.
A special "thank you" goes to Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Secretary of State Brian Kemp for speaking during lunch about the importance of agriculture. We are thankful to be one of the sponsors and for all the GAC members and guests that were able to attend.
Have you purchased your tickets to this year's Harvest Celebration? Tickets are going fast and space is limited for this annual event. Country music sensation, Restless Heart, is slated to be the entertainment and we hope you can attend. Please use the online order form or contact Maggie Wooten - - to order tickets. Like to make a donation for our silent auction? Click here!
Thanks for your responses last month. It was a close contest - here are the top rankings:
"Which of the following is most important to you at the August 23 Ag Issues Summit?"
1. Solutions to help rural Georgia
2. Agricultural water planning and irrigation metering
3. GATE compliance update

Here's our latest member poll. We appreciate your input:  
What is your perspective on news of warm winters, severe rainfall, and stronger hurricanes?
Human activity is changing the climate and creating many weather changes.
Climate may be changing, but not necessarily because of humans.
Weather patterns come and go. Always have and always will.
Growth is always a welcome sight both in agriculture and in our organization. We are honored to welcome these new members to the GAC team!
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.  
As you may be aware, the popular rail company CSX has been the cause of distress for agribusiness in our state. Being one of the two major railway companies, CSX has a major impact on the shipping and delivering of products throughout the country and it seems ag has taken a back seat. With major delays in the shipping of peanuts, feed, fertilizer, and other products, it has caused a major disruption in the industry and businesses are forced to look at other costly alternatives. This Growing Georgia article highlights some of the major issues.
GAC has taken action on trying to resolve the problems caused by CSX, including a letter to CSX on August 9 outlining our concerns and measures that need to be taken. CSX responded on August 29, but did not provide much insight on solutions.
Additionally, we held calls with USDA's Rural Development team. They expressed strong interest in this matter and were brought up to speed on problems created by CSX here in Georgia. We appreciate GAC member companies weighing in on these issues with USDA as well. Secretary Perdue is very much engaged on these challenges. As a result of the call, GAC will be engaging the federal Surface Transportation Board to discuss the CSX rail failures as well as the inflated rail continuation charges assessed for private rail spurs. Please let us know if you are having rail service challenges. Stay tuned for updates as we press these issues.
The House Rural Development Council (HRDC)  held their fourth round of discussions in Ellijay and Dalton, August 16 and 17 respectively . Attendees were able to hear from Speaker of the House David Ralston in person as he applauded the continued efforts of the Council. Co-Chairs Terry England (Auburn) and Jay Powell (Camilla) once again heard from several speakers that emphasized that If Georgia's rural areas are to grow and thrive economically, creating a workforce with the skills needed in the 21st century will be vital. They gave examples of how the local school systems are working together to provide students with the skills that industry needs. With industry specific training, students will be able to come into the workforce and contribute immediately.

Videos of the presentations made at the HRDC sessions are available online for your review.   We hope you will make plans to attend a session that comes to your area later this year. GAC will continue to monitor these meetings and update you as they progress throughout the year. For more information and future dates on the House Rural Development Council,   click here. The Council is meeting this week in Metter where they will continue to review rural healthcare.
We appreciate the steps that U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken in repealing the Waters of the US (WOTUS) and the proposed rules has been warmly received by agriculture, forestry and property rights enthusiasts. When finalized, the proposed rule would replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule with the regulations that were in effect immediately preceding the 2015 rule.  GAC sent a letter commending Administrator Pruitt on this step and offered our full support.
However, we are not at the finish line yet. EPA has extended the required public comment period until September 27. We appreciate the work of all of the ag and forestry groups in Georgia and across the nation that have fought in unity against the new rules but we need to see this through. EPA is also 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 . You can also weigh in to "Ditch the Rule" by stating your support for the rule changes here.
GAC is proud to partner with the Asmark Institute in delivering their compliance services to the industry. These one-of-a-kind courses are designed to immerse participants in real-life situations. With over 5 million dollars invested in training facilities, props, and instructors, we encourage you to give these training programs your full consideration. Click here for more information.
We applaud the announcement by Governor Deal that former Rep. Chuck Williams has been named the new director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. Williams, who is a former GAC board member and a great friend of agriculture and forestry, started on September 1.
As a forester himself, he has served on the House Ag and Consumer Affairs Committee and the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee. Williams, pictured below with his wife Beth, was named as Georgia’s Tree Farmer of the Year in 2005 in recognition of his passion for forestry and stewardship of the land. He has served in leadership positions for many forestry and agricultural organizations, including the Georgia Forestry Association, the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and is a valued member of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
The first meeting of the Joint Study Committee on Stream Buffers will take place on September 13 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. GAC President Bryan Tolar has been asked to speak on behalf of the agribusiness industry.
Agribusiness lost another icon on August 30 as former Council President, Tal Duvall, died at the age of 84. He had an amazing life of leadership for our industry and we are proud he also shared his passion by leading the Council in 1988 & 1989.   Click here for full obituary.
The Georgia 4-H Gala was held on August 12 at the Loews Hotel in midtown Atlanta. GAC was pleased to attend as the evening celebrated the 4-H family and honored Ted and Gerrye Jenkins for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award ! Ted Jenkins, a retired University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist, led the Georgia 4-H summer camp programs from 1980-1997. His wife, Gerrye Jenkins, served alongside him. We congratulate this great team for receiving such a deserved honor.
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  AgriHealth of Georgia  medical insurance program is a medical captive designed to drive healthcare costs down. GAC member Snellings Walters designed this partially self-funded healthcare plan that utilizes the national  Blue Cross Blue Shield  network of doctors. Call the  Georgia Agribusiness Council office at 706-336-6830  if you have any questions or contact  Tara Byrd with Snellings Walters at 770-508-3032  for health insurance specifics about the program. We look forward to serving you.
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 Council participated in a media event held in Atlanta to discuss needed immigration reform . The program covered a wide variety of immigration challenges, including agriculture, hospitality, high-tech and deferred action programs such as DACA. GAC focused on the need for federal guest worker program reforms and commented that a state managed worker visa program should also be considered. Immigration reform is a workforce issue for many industries. Solutions, not rhetoric, is what will grow the labor needed for agriculture's workforce challenges.
* On August 21, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the appointment of Trey Glenn of Alabama to become Regional Administrator for EPA’s Southeast Region. Mr. Glenn's territory will include eight states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The EPA Region 4 office is located in Atlanta.
* The 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 19 - 21, 2017, in Albany, Georgia and the surrounding area. GAC's Hunter Loggins will attend the tour, which brings the latest information on peanuts while giving a first-hand view of industry infrastructure from production and handling to processing and utilization. Click here for more info.
* The UGA CAES will be having their annual Alumni Awards Banquet and Agriculture Hall of Fame Induction on Friday, September 22 at the Classic Center in Athens. Click here to register.
* The annual ABAC "Ag Classic" golf tournament will be on September 29 at Forest Lake Golf Course in Tifton, GA. The proceeds are used to benefit the students of ABAC in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. There is a morning and afternoon flight. Flights will be determined on first registered, first assigned basis.   Register your team here .
* 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 is now accepting applications for Crop Production Scholarships for the academic year of 2017-2018. Deadline for applications is September 30. Click here to apply.

* GCPA will also 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 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. Stay tuned for more info.
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) 
* The movie "Food Evolution" has received much attention and great reviews for detailing the science of food production. It is now available online. See the film trailer and learn more at . 
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