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Henry County Farm Bureau members attend GFB Day

 

Submitted 

  Henry County Farm Bureau members recently traveled to Atlanta to participate in Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol. While at the Capitol, members of the Henry County Farm Bureau delegation visited with Representatives John Yates, Brian Strickland and Dale Rutledge, as well as the staff of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Members of the Henry County Farm Bureau who attended the event included: Ross McQueen, President, Raymond Bailey, Vice-President, Andy Garland, Legislative Chair, James and Gloria Garland, Tom and Carmen Strickland, Young Farmer Chairs, Josh White and Danny Edmonds, Agency Manager.  The Henry County delegation was among more than 450 Farm Bureau members from across the state to participate in the event. Participants were encouraged to raise legislators’ awareness of GFB’s 2013 priority issues - water, taxes & the state budget, supporting cattle producers’ opportunity to vote in a referendum to create a state commodity commission for beef, reducing thefts of ag supplies/equipment from farms, merging state and federal commercial drivers license regulations and pursuing a reliable ag workforce.

Gov. Nathan Deal addressed about 800 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members, state legislators and state officials attending the GFB Capitol Day luncheon at the Georgia Freight Depot held on February 12 in Atlanta.                                 Special photo

  “Georgia Farm Bureau members who participated in Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol showed the people in Atlanta the strength of Georgia agriculture and the strength of Georgia Farm Bureau. Our members brought the heart and soul of rural Georgia to Atlanta,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “It’s important that farmers take the time to come to Atlanta to talk to their legislators about the issues we’re facing on the farm.”

 While speaking at a luncheon GFB hosted for its members, state officials, and legislators at the Georgia Freight Depot, Gov. Nathan Deal discussed the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program, budget allocations he has made for agriculture, and the Flint River Drought Protection Act (FRDPA).

  “As I told rural legislators recently, we have to be careful that we do not abuse the provisions of this [GATE] legislation. We can’t afford abuses because if it becomes apparent that they are happening then we will see action, I think, to retract what has been done on a good faith basis. It will require all of us to act in good faith to make sure the system is not abused,” Deal said.

  The Georgia Department of Revenue has released a list of agriculture inputs eligible for sales tax exemptions, for which a summary is available at http://www.gfb.org/legislative/documents/GFB%20Report%202-8-13.pdf.

  Deal also outlined funding he included in the fiscal year 2014 budget proposal he presented to the General Assembly in January. Deal’s budget includes $500,000 to support the implementation of local water plans proposed by the regional water councils; a $25 million bond package for water supply projects, mostly in the form of reservoirs; $2.85 million in funding for the veterinary diagnostic labs in Athens and Tifton and significant money for the new veterinary school being built at the University of Georgia.

  Deal mentioned work the Environmental Protection Division is doing to reform the FRDPA including studies to improve stream flow and protect the river while providing adequate water for farmers. “I think if we all work together towards this common goal good things will happen,” Deal said.

  GFB members also heard about Senate Bill 97, introduced by Sen. John Wilkinson, chairman of the Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee, which would allow Georgia beef producers to hold a referendum to decide if they want to create a state agricultural commodity commission for beef.

 

 

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