Weekly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members
August 2020
GAC was pleased to attend the signing of several bills relating to agribusiness and forestry last week at the GFA headquarters in Forsyth, GA. The events were attended by the lawmakers that worked tirelessly to pass each piece of legislation as well as many of the groups that advocated on behalf of our industry in Atlanta. While the events are mainly ceremonial, the legislation became official law upon the signature of Governor Brian P. Kemp on Friday. We appreciate the Governor and First Lady taking time from their busy schedule to show the importance of our industry in Georgia
Call the GAC Office at 706.336.6830, Email Maggie Wooten or
Click Below to Buy Tickets!
This week, GAC visited Bulloch Fertilizer and Anderson’s General Store in Statesboro, GA. We sat down with Raybon, Mike and Jon Marsh Anderson, three generations who all work hard to continue the strong reputation of service and quality products that Bulloch Fertilizer is known for. After working with the USDA in the 1950s and early 1960s, Raybon started Bulloch Fertilizer after seeing a need for a service-minded agricultural company. They have specialized in custom fertilizer blends, spreading, GPS mapping, soil samples and analysis for farming operations, golf/sports turf, and lawn care since 1963. They also have a dealer business with bagged products. Today, Raybon’s son, Mike, runs the day-to-day operations at Bulloch Fertilizer. Mike’s children, Jon Marsh and Lawson, are working at the family’s businesses while they both attend college. 

Anderson’s General Store, which is a division of Bulloch Fertilizer, moved to its current location on Highway 80 in Statesboro in 2005 and became a Purina Premier Dealer. Anderson’s carries many popular brands, and is a one-stop-shop for clothing, footwear, hunting and outdoor gear, pet and animal products, gifts, toys and of course, feed and seed. Prior to 2005, the general store was located at the Bulloch Fertilizer Plant in downtown Statesboro. 
In 1983, Raybon joined GAC and was asked to serve on the GAC Board of Directors with a 3-year term, however he agreed to a 1-year term. That term turned into over 30 years on the GAC Board as well as serving as a longtime Trustee for AgriTrust of Georgia where he is currently Chairman. Along with then-GAC president, Gary Black and other GAC Board Members, Raybon was an integral part of starting legislative representation as a benefit of GAC Membership. Seeing a need for affordable workers compensation insurance, that group was also instrumental in the formation of AgriTrust of Georgia in 1993. 

GAC wouldn’t be where we are today, without Raybon’s contributions, and longtime members like Bulloch Fertilizer and Anderson’s General Store. 
News Release
For Immediate Release

Sunbelt Ag Expo Suspends Plans for Its 43rd Annual Show

North America's Premier Farm Show, the Sunbelt Ag Expo, has provided a venue for the agricultural industry to conduct business for 42 years. For the first time, since its beginnings in 1978, the gates at Spence Field will not open the third week in October to welcome farmers, their families, and loyal exhibitors as the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Board of Directors voted to cancel the 43rd Annual show scheduled for October 20-22, 2020.

While the Expo staff has worked diligently over the past several months to put together an action plan that would enable a safe and successful show, it has become abundantly clear that we must change course. Unfortunately, we simply cannot safely blend networking, commerce and education while representing the rich history of the Sunbelt Ag Expo. Additionally, the board's decision to cancel the 2020 Sunbelt Ag Expo was greatly impacted by its concern for valued attendees' and exhibitors' expenses, and their need to plan.

What should our attendees expect? Join us on our social media channels this fall as we continue to engage with you regarding the education and implementation of the latest agricultural technology, research and equipment.

What should our exhibitors expect? The Sunbelt Ag Expo staff will reach out directly to each partner concerning fees and plans for the 2021 show. You will hear from us beginning July 27th.

Plans for the selection of the 2020 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Winner and the Southeastern Hay Contest Award Winners are still being finalized. As these plans are confirmed, information will be released on our web site and social media channels. In addition, the Holiday Arts and Crafts Show, hosted by the Sunbelt Ag Expo, is still scheduled at this time for November 14-15, 2020.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo looks forward to greeting visitors again in 2021 as it showcases the latest in farming technology, October 19-21. The show will go on! Visit www.sunbeltexpo.com for more information.
(Washington, D.C., July 27, 2020) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new features on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers.gov website designed to help facilitate the employment of H-2A workers.
“My mission from the beginning of my time as Secretary was to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government – these changes to Farmers.gov are doing just that. USDA’s goal is to help farmers navigate the complex H-2A program that is administered by Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department so hiring a farm worker is an easier process,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump knows how essential these workers are to our farmers and America’s food supply chain. We will continue working to streamline these and other processes to better serve our customers across the country.”
The primary new H-2A features on Farmers.gov include:
·     A real-time dashboard that enables farmers to track the status of their eligible employer application and visa applications for temporary non-immigrant workers;
·     Streamlining the login information so if a farmer has an existing login.gov account they can save multiple applications tracking numbers for quick look-up at any time;
·     Enables easy access to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG);
·     Allows farmers to track time-sensitive actions taken in the course of Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC) adjudication of temporary labor certification applications;
·     Allowing for farmers to access all application forms on-line.
All information can be found at www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a .
In 2018, Secretary Perdue unveiled farmers.gov , a dynamic, mobile-friendly public website combined with an authenticated portal where customers can apply for programs, process transactions and manage accounts. With feedback from customers and field employees who serve those customers, Farmers.gov delivers farmer-focused features through an agile, iterative process to deliver the greatest immediate value to America’s agricultural producers – helping farmers and ranchers do right, and feed everyone.
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) told reporters last week that the $1 trillion coronavirus relief package that Senate Republicans are trying to finalize would include a $20 billion direct appropriation to USDA to go with the $14 billion in funding the Department already has in its Commodity Credit Corporation account.

The House-based HEROES Act authorized $33 billion in agricultural spending, plus another $35 billion in expanded food assistance. Sen. Hoeven noted that the Senate GOP plan wouldn’t increase USDA’s CCC authority. But he did note that the account would likely be replenished at $30 billion this fall through a continuing resolution that Congress will need to pass to keep the government operating after the 2021 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

One issue that was still being ironed out is an expansion of the Soil Health and Income Protection Program, which was authorized as a 50,000-acre pilot program in the 2018 farm bill. The HEROES Act would expand the program, championed by Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD) to 5 million acres and authorize annual payments of $70 an acre to farmers who keep land out of program for three years. American Farm Bureau Federation policy opposes the expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program acreage cap, which an expansion of the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP) would achieve. But the organization did admit that it is likely the program will be included in the final package.
We need your help supporting GFVGA’s efforts to fight unfair Mexican trade practices which have damaged Georgia specialty crop producers.

The deadline is August 3 rd .

In their ongoing efforts to combat trade relief from highly subsidized Mexican imports of fruits and vegetables, GFVGA is calling on members to submit comments to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office before August 3 rd .

Subsidies to Mexican growers often result in pricing of imported fruits and vegetables at levels well below the cost of raising similar crops in Georgia. It is critical that we express our concerns regarding these unfair trade practices that leave Georgia producers trying to compete on an uneven playing field. Georgia growers need a remedy to this ongoing and worsening issue that will only be achieved by our presenting a loud and unified message.  

Submit Your Comments
To submit your comments:
2. Type or copy and paste “ USTR-2020-0010 ” into the search box
3. Click the link for “Public Hearings: Trade Distorting Policies that may be Affecting Seasonal and Perishable Products in U.S. Commerce”
4. Click the blue comment box on the left side of the page. 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in National Farm Family Coalition, et al. v. U.S. EPA regarding EPA’s registration of Enlist Duo® herbicide.

A statement from Corteva noted that "Corteva Agriscience is pleased with the Ninth Circuit decision to reject petitioners’ attempts to vacate the registration of Enlist Duo® herbicide. The registration of Enlist Duo® herbicide stands and this leading weed control product can continue to be sold and used by farmers. This gives farmers added confidence in the Enlist™ Weed Control System. Corteva is confident in the sustainability and effectiveness of Enlist Duo® and we are committed to helping farmers continue to realize the benefits of the Enlist™ Weed Control System, which provides exceptional weed control in corn, soybeans and cotton with near-zero volatility, reduced potential for physical drift and improved handling characteristics.

Corteva remains focused on developing innovative products such as the Enlist portfolio that reflect our commitment to sustainability and biodiversity while increasing farmer productivity and sustainable farming practices."
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces some of our nation’s most comprehensive labor laws for agricultural workers, including the labor provisions of the H-2A visa program and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. We continue to enforce and provide educational outreach about these laws during the coronavirus pandemic, and remain committed to safeguarding American jobs, leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers, and protecting worker health and safety.

We recognize that agricultural employers are encountering rapidly changing circumstances and unique public health and safety issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Agricultural workers and employers have stepped up to prevent disruptions to America’s food supply chain while ensuring the health and safety of the essential workforce that cultivates and harvests our crops.

At this critical time, we encourage employers to consult health and safety guidance and recommendations published jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-agricultural-workers.html . This guidance outlines recommendations for agriculture work sites, shared worker housing, and shared worker transportation to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus. Employers should also consult with their local and state public health agencies to obtain guidance and recommendations tailored to the public health conditions in their specific regions.

Please visit our agricultural employment website at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/agriculture for guidance, compliance materials, posters, and forms. We have a number of materials available in a “Compliance Assistance Toolkit for Agricultural Employers” that you can download from our website or order in hard copy at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/compliance-assistance/toolkits/agriculture .  

Please review additional relevant resources here:  cultivating compliance video , Ag worker card

We also encourage agricultural employers, employees, and other stakeholders to reach out to us with any questions or concerns at 1-866-487-9243 or www.dol.gov/agencies/whd . If we cannot answer your question, we can assist in determining who best can.
Your Action Needed: Grain Standards Act and Water Resources Development Act
Contact your legislator today!
GAC is partnering with the National Grain & Feed Association to encourage members to contact their legislators regarding two important bills: Grain Standards Act and Water Resources Development Act. More information on these bills is available below. 
Use NGFA's resources below to contact your legislator directly:
Grain Standards Act
First signed into law in 1916, the U.S. Grain Standards Act led to a uniform system of official grain inspection practices that benefit the entire agricultural value chain from the farmer to the grain handler and ultimately to the consumer. The U.S. Grain Standards Act expires on Sept. 30, 2020. We're calling on GAC members to help extend this critical law by contacting your Senators and urging them to take the next step on the road to reauthorization by passing USGSRA 2020 through the full Senate.

Water Resources Development Act
Since 2014, lawmakers have approved a Water Resources Development Act through each Congress. Each WRDA bill is an opportunity to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of U.S. inland waterways and ports. This year, NGFA is focused on changing the cost-share formula for the construction and major rehabilitation of each inland waterways navigation project from the current 50 percent general revenue and 50 percent Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) funding to 65 percent general revenue and 35 percent IWTF. If adopted, this provision would expedite such projects and bring the U.S. inland waterways transportation system into the 21st century .
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee considered H.R. 7608, a minibus of four fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills: State and Foreign Operations; Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA; Interior-Environment; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Prior, the House Rules Committee issued a structured rule on the bill, including which amendments will be considered and the length of discussion, with general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Appropriations.

Approximately 23 agriculture appropriations amendments will be brought to the floor for consideration. Among those amendments is one that would block USDA from using authorities that Trump granted under the Defense Protection Act to keep packing plants operational during the COVID-19 crisis. The amendment is sponsored by Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Another amendment would transfer $1 million to USDA’s inspector general to investigate animal cruelty cases. A third amendment would add $5 million to the Dairy Business Innovation program, which was included in the 2018 farm bill to help dairies develop new products.
USDA has paid out $6.23 billion under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on 442,639 approved applications as of July 20, according to an analysis by DTN’s Progressive Farmer. Livestock producers remain the largest recipients, with $3.15 billion in payments. That is broken down as $2.73 billion to cattle producers, $394.3 million to hog producers and $28.8 million to sheep producers. Dairy producers have received $1.25 billion. Non-specialty crop producers have received $1.64 billion, with $1.1 billion to corn producers, $314 million to soybean producers, $155 million to upland cotton growers, $19 million to HRS wheat producers, and $13.3 million to sorghum growers. Payments totaling $186 million have gone out to specialty crop producers.
As part of its commitment to ensuring fair and competitive markets for the livestock, meat and poultry industries, today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Boxed Beef and Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report on its ongoing boxed beef and fed cattle price spread investigation. “The closure of the Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, after a fire at the facility, and the COVID-19 pandemic clearly disrupted the markets and processing systems responsible for the production and sale of U.S. beef,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The report examines these economic disruptions and the significant increase in the spread between boxed beef and fed cattle prices that resulted from them. While we’re pleased to provide this update, we assure producers that our work continues in order to determine if there are any violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act. If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action.”
People with underlying medical conditions that are linked to an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness are more likely to live in rural than urban counties, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report. Those health risks include obesity, diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease. The prevalence of those conditions “generally increased with increasing rurality,” CDC said in its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The prevalence of those health risks also are higher in the Southeast, the report says.


Monday, July 27, 2020
Georgia Dept. of Agriculture
Office of Communications

Unsolicited Packages of Seeds from China
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) has been notified that several Georgia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. Recipients are strongly advised not to open the packages or plant the seeds.
"At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black says. "If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag."

The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.

Anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail from China or any other country is encouraged to contact the GDA Seed Lab at 229-386-3145 or email  SeedLab@agr.georgia.gov

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.

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.  

ASMARK INSTITUTE - Safe & Sound Online Training 

The Safe & Sound Online Training Management tool is ideal for organizations seeking a comprehensive training solution that incorporates advanced technologies to help manage their employee training from start to finish, simplifying and streamlining the process.

Other features include:

  • Thirty-one ag-specific topics on DVD, licensed for on-site use
  • Manage your employee list
  • Order personalized new hire, re-hire or supplemental training kits
  • Track results on your personal dashboard
  • And much more!

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.
We're here to help you!
We look forward to helping you discover how we can help you gain knowledge in the industry through events, workshops, and webinars. Visit our website at ugaurbanag.com to begin your journey through all that we have to offer you! It's all just a click or two away! Subscribe and update your preferences today!

Do you have any special product promotions? Home delivery? Curbside pickup? Let us help get the word out. Complete this form ( https://bit.ly/ag-connect ) and we’ll promote it to the public through our website ( https://t.uga.edu/5TB ) and the social media accounts of our extensive network of county Extension offices throughout the state.
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.
Georgia Agribusiness Council | 706-336-6830 | WWW.GA-AGRIBUSINESS.ORG