Monthly Newsletter for Georgia Agribusiness Council Members

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today Congressman David Scott (GA-13) was approved by the Democratic Caucus to serve as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The committee is empowered with legislative oversight relating to the U.S. agriculture industry, forestry, nutrition, and rural development.

“I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to serve as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee,” said Congressman Scott. “I was born on my grandparents’ farm in rural Aynor, South Carolina, during the days of segregation, and the hardships, of those, on whose shoulders I now stand. I owe this historic selection as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to a diverse coalition of members from across our nation. And I will use this critical opportunity to represent the values of our entire caucus and advance our priorities for trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP, crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops, and rural broadband. The fault lines dividing our rural and urban communities are running deep, and climate change is now threatening our nation’s food supply. As Chairman, I will lead the fight to rise up and meet these challenges.”

Congressman David Scott has served as a Member of Congress and the House Agriculture Committee since 2003. In his various leadership roles on the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Scott has chaired the Subcommittees on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit as well as Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. Scott played a key role in ushering through the three last Farm Bills, including by serving as a conferee, securing critical disaster aid for our farmers, strengthening the food and nutrition programs that help our families, seniors and school children and securing $80 million for new scholarships for students attending 1890 African-American land-grant colleges and universities.

Congressman David Scott grew up living and working on his grandparents’ farm when his parents moved north to find work. During his 18 years in Congress, he has developed a deep understanding of the critical issues facing farmers today and the practical challenges posed by an agricultural lifestyle. He also understands the critical role agriculture plays in our economy and the importance of policies that preserve our place as the #1 exporter of agricultural products.  
The GAC Foundation's Harvest Celebration might have looked a little different this year, but the fellowship and support for Georgia agribusiness was stronger than ever. In order to continue our proud tradition of gathering together to celebrate agriculture, this year’s Harvest Celebration transitioned to an outdoor event that was held on November 20th, at the Meadows Gun Club in Forsyth, GA. Well over 200 members and guests enjoyed a beautiful day in Middle Georgia with Commissioner Gary Black, First Lady Marty Kemp and other distinguished guests from the General Assembly.

Attendees had the opportunity to participate in their choice of a sporting clays tournament, a holiday cookie decorating class, a floral arrangement demonstration, and a Georgia Grown lunch. Our Field of Dreams fundraisers provided an opportunity to take home great items while supporting scholarships, ag education, and policy studies.

We’re thankful for every sponsor, participant, volunteer and member for making this year’s Harvest Celebration one of the best!
U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue sent a letter this week to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer requesting a broadening of USTR’s current Section 332 investigation to include the impact of seasonal cucumber and squash imports on Southeastern markets.

“Fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico continue to dramatically impact U.S. markets and threaten the future of domestic farm production of perishable produce,” the Senators wrote. “In the last twelve months, we have seen further growth in imports across several vegetable products…”

“Prices have followed supply, and growers are now reporting tumbling prices across the board for vegetables. Prices are now well below U.S. production costs for several of these commodities and appear to correlate directly with increasing fall shipments from Mexico…These market changes occur quickly and can make or break a grower’s season in a matter of days if import increases and the resulting price decreases coincide with harvest. For this reason, we urge you to consider requesting a Section 332 investigation for cucumbers and squash in order to determine the impact of these seasonal imports on Southeastern markets.”
Published From UGA CAES
Two students from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have been chosen for Georgia Agribusiness Council Legislative Internships for the spring 2021 Georgia General Assembly legislative session.

Katelyn Bickett, a senior agricultural communications major from Chickamauga, Georgia, and Brooke Raniere, a junior environmental economics major from Peachtree City, Georgia, will spend 12 weeks in the state Capitol during the legislative session that begins in January 2021.
The students will work with the Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC), one of the state’s largest agriculture lobbies, where they will track legislation impacting Georgia’s agriculture and forestry industries, monitor legislative committee meetings, assist with the weekly legislative newsletter for GAC members, write briefs, conduct research and assist in legislative efforts as assigned. 

“The Georgia Agribusiness Council is excited to once again partner with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for our Legislative Internship program,” said Will Bentley, GAC president. “Katelyn Bickett and Brooke Raniere were selected from an extremely qualified pool of applicants and will be invaluable to the policy efforts for our organization during the 2021 session. This internship has proven to be a success for both GAC and the students that have been chosen in previous years.”

The experiences interns have during the Georgia legislative session have opened doors for students in the policy arena and have broadened their perceptions of agriculture and the legislative process as a whole, he said.
“Several past GAC legislative interns have gone on to serve as Agriculture Fellows in Washington, D.C., and are pursuing successful careers inside of agribusiness that reflect our mission as an organization. We look forward to having Katelyn and Brooke work with GAC during the spring semester and continuing our relationship with UGA.”
Commissioner Gary W. Black and agriculture leaders from across the state have formed a grassroots coalition to help expand the organizational efforts of incumbent U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. These calls have included over a dozen sitting Senators from around the country who have joined to encourage Georgia’s rural community to increase our get out the vote efforts. The coalition is open to all interested parties involved in agribusiness and you can be added to the communication by contacting Below is a message from Commissioner Black regarding the next call.

Georgia Farm & Rural Leaders Coalition
Thank you all for your continued interest and engagement as we work to expand our grassroots effort and help get out the vote for this critical election. As you heard from our special guests in the U.S. Senate, this election is impactful nationwide and we must do all we can to help David and Kelly remain in Washington! It is imperative that we protect the conservative values that our state AND our nation hold so dear.

**REMINDER: Please add to your email contacts 
to avoid future messages going to spam***

Attached is a document that summarizes how individuals can get engaged in these campaigns between now and January 5th. Please save and share this to your community and professional networks.

We will host our next call on Wednesday, December 8th at 7pm. Look for an email on Tuesday 12/8 to register and the zoom link will be distributed to all who register by Wednesday at 5pm.

Add your name as a Farm & Rural Leader in supporting of Team Kelly and Team David by signing up today!

Governor Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp continued the long tradition of allowing GAC to auction off a lunch at the Governor's Mansion to support the GAC Foundation. The 2019 winning bidder of the lunch was the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lunch had been pushed back several times before finally being held this week in Atlanta. The First Family was very gracious to spend time with GAC and GVMA members and provided a tour of the mansion that was undergoing Christmas decorations. GVMA was able to discuss several priority policy topics with the Governor as well as talking extensively with the First Lady about her strong efforts to increase pet adoptions in Georgia. It was a wonderful day for everyone involved. Thank you to GAC member, Marjac Poultry, for providing chicken for the meal!
Payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) now total $10.08 billion as of November 15 with 616,103 applications approved. Acreage-based payments account for the largest share at $4.99 billion, followed by livestock ($2.74 billion), sales commodities ($1.34 billion), dairy ($980.8 million) and eggs/broilers ($28.3 million).

Payments for corn ($2.76 billion), cattle ($2.21 billion), sales commodities ($1.27 billion) and soybeans ($10.6 billion) are at $1 billion or more, followed by milk ($980.8 million), wheat ($550.0 million), hogs/pigs ($459.0 million) and upland cotton ($229.2 million).

By state, Iowa still leads at $953 million, with Nebraska at $687.7 million), Minnesota at $665.5 million, Illinois at $637.8 million, California at $618.2 million, Kansas at $526.3 million, Texas at $482.3 million, South Dakota at $462.9 million, Wisconsin at $441.4 million and North Dakota rounding out the top 10 at $370.2 million. Signup for the effort continues through December 11 and USDA continues to solicit producer enrollments.

Payments under the CFAP 1 effort stand at $10.42 billion with USDA seeking to wind that program down, calling on those producers who have not submitted requested forms to so by November 20.

Numbers reporting provided by DTN’s Progressive Farmer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) amended its regulations concerning payment limitation and eligibility through a final rule published in the Federal Register on Aug. 21, 2020. The agency said a correction issued November 19 restores the previous definitions of “active personal management,” “significant contribution,” “significant contribution of active personal management” and “significant contribution of the combination of active personal labor and active personal management.”

“After publication of the rule, stakeholders notified FSA of concerns regarding potential non-intended, adverse effects to farming operations comprised solely of family members. In streamlining the definitions for consistency, these revised definitions were inadvertently made applicable to farming operations solely owned by family members. This was not the intent of this rule change, and as revised, the definitions were more restrictive than they needed to be in order to provide intended consistency in the rule,” the correction published in the Federal Register noted.

A final rule published by FSA in August required all payment recipients to meet the eligibility requirements for being “actively engaged” in farming, including either 25% of a farm’s total management hours on an annual basis or perform at least 500 hours of management annually.

The “correction” to that rule means that those requirements will only apply to farming operations that are comprised of nonfamily members and subject to a limit in the number of farm managers who can qualify as actively engaged in farming.
COLUMBUS, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Synovus Bank today announced the launch of a new agriculture and timber team, with an initial focus on the production, agribusiness, and timber segments of the industry south of the Fall Line in Georgia, and additional coverage in northwest Florida and southeast Alabama.

Residing in Synovus’ community banking division, the team includes agriculture industry and banking veterans Clint Hood, Kimberly Powell, Anita Hatfield, and Jo Creel, all of whom joined the bank last week, and Synovus agribusiness banker, Andy Thompson.

“Agriculture is one of the largest industries in Synovus’ footprint and a major source of economic growth and development in many communities we serve,” said Wayne Akins, Synovus chief community banking officer. “By combining the resources of a large regional financial institution with industry expertise, local knowledge, and the close-to-market execution of a community bank, we are confident this new agribusiness team will be an important source of value creation for Synovus and a growing number of agriculture and forestry customers in our footprint. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Clint, Kimberly, Anita, and Jo to Synovus.”

A 32-year banking veteran, Hood has extensive credit and risk expertise in the agribusiness and timber industries and serves on the boards of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia FFA Foundation, and the University of Georgia Ag Alumni Association. He was previously with Wells Fargo, which he joined in 2013. Hood resides on his farm in Dublin, Georgia.

Powell has nearly 25 years of banking experience, including C&I, CRE, and agribusiness lending. She was previously with Wells Fargo, where she managed an extensive portfolio of timber processors, agriculture processors, and row crop farmers. Powell is a graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in Butler, Georgia.

Hatfield is a 20-year banking veteran with extensive experience in credit analysis and underwriting. She was previously with Wells Fargo, where she was the primary analyst/underwriter for agriculture loans underwritten in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Hatfield graduated from Troy University and resides in Ozark, Alabama.

Creel has more than 20 years of banking experience, including as agriculture team relationship manager with Wells Fargo, where she was previously employed. Creel is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern and lives on her farm in Blakely, Georgia.

Synovus has had a meaningful agriculture banking practice for more than 30 years, including row crops and related processing activities. The new team extends the bank’s coverage of timber and other segments, improving its position for profitable growth in the agribusiness industry.
Thirteen national organizations sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking that he and the Trump Administration work to “deepen trade discussions” in order to bring about World Trade Organization compliance and removal of the European Union's (EU) retaliatory tariffs targeting U.S. food and agricultural exports.

On October 26, 2020, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body authorized the EU to impose tariffs on U.S. imports valued at $4 billion in connection with the WTO Boeing dispute. On November 10, 2020, the EU imposed tariffs on a wide range of American food and agricultural exports, including certain cheeses, agricultural equipment, distilled spirits, potatoes, nuts, fruits, juices, chocolate and ketchup.

“Given existing disruptions to trade, the impact of COVID and weather-related events that have hit farmers this year, American food and agriculture needs stability, predictability and the ability to grow exports,” the letter stated. "For these reasons, we strongly urge the U.S. and EU to deepen trade discussions in order to bring about WTO compliance and, therefore, allow for the removal of tariffs to help unlock the opportunity for our producers to successfully access the European market. Concomitant with that goal, we also urge the uprooting of unfounded EU non-tariff barriers that impede the American food and agriculture sector’s ability to fully realize the potential opportunities in the EU.”
​The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference announces the full 2021 Virtual Schedule including over 85 hours of educational programs across 15 different specialty crop commodity conferences. Although we won’t be meeting in person this year, Southeast Regional will still offer a premier learning and networking opportunity for fruit and vegetable growers across the country.

​Education session, running daily from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-5:00 p.m. Eastern, will include live Q&A sessions and offera variety of CEU and CAA licenses and certificates. CEU and CAA credits are only available for All Access registered attendees. SE Regional will also continue to boast of one of the largest industry trade shows with over 100 exhibitors who will feature product demonstrations and live connections during the Exhibitor Power Hours, 11:30-2:30 p.m. each day of the conference. Networking events will be held each day to bring together industry partners and leaders to take a closer look at issues that will impact the specialty crop industry in 2021 and beyond. 

​This year, SE Regional is offering allied industry partners 15 percent off an All Access Registration price. Use promo code, SEFRIENDS21, and register today and save. All educational content and trade show exhibits will be available for on-demand viewing to registered attendees after the conference until April 30, 2021.

For more information, please visit, or, call us at 877-994-3842.
The Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 on Monday, after having passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 24.

The bill authorizes the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish official marketing standards for certain grains and oilseeds. The covered crops are barley, canola, corn, flaxseed, oats, rye, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, triticale, wheat and mixed grain.

The bill will be “held at the desk” on the House floor when it comes over from the Senate, rather than go through the House Agriculture Committee, so that it can be considered quickly, a House Agriculture Committee spokesman said on Tuesday. The current Grain Standards Act expires December 11.
FMCSA Issues Interim Final Rule on Agricultural Commodity Definitions
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is has published a final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.

Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source. The agricultural commodity rulemaking from FMCSA prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies. The interim final rule attempts to provide those clarifications.

The term “agricultural commodity” now applies to ”horticultural products subject to perishability or significant degradation in product quality during transport”. The definition of “livestock” is now revised to include “all living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals.” And “non-processed foods” is clarified to mean food commodities in a raw or natural state and not subjected to significant post-harvest changes to enhance shelf life. 

The GAC Foundation announced 3 scholarship winners this year. Congratulations to the following winners.
Katlyn Abbigale Davis
Katlyn is a freshman at the University of Georgia seeking to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and ultimately a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Katlyn is from Guyton, Georgia where she was the salutatorian of her graduating class at South Effingham High School. She has intentions of practicing veterinary medicine with an emphasis on food animals. Katlyn is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in May of 2024.
Taylor William Dyer
Taylor is a sophomore at the University of Georgia where he is majoring in Agricultural Education. He is from Ringgold, Georgia where he attended Heritage High School. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, Taylor plans to enroll in the Double Dawg program to obtain a Master’s degree in Ag Education as well. He has intentions of becoming a high school agriculture teacher and making a positive difference in student’s lives. Taylor is on pace to graduate in May of 2023.
Emma Richwine
Emma is a college freshman at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where she is seeking a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications. She is from Bishop, Georgia where she attended North Oconee High School. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree, Emma plans to blend her passion for agriculture and her love for people by underlining the importance of agriculture in whatever field she ends up in. Emma plans to graduate in May of 2024. 
Friday, January 29 - The 2021 Virtual Session of the Georgia Ag Forecast keynote topic will be COVID-19's impact on agriculture in Georgia. Breakout topic sessions include: livestock and poultry, row crops, horticultural crops (fruits and vegetables), and forestry and land taxation.
Save the Date!
Jan. 20, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 21, 2021
8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center
Tifton, Georgia

Don't miss out on the 45th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference, set for Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 20-21, 2021, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. Peanut farmers and those involved in the peanut industry will be able to learn more about the latest products, services and peanut research at the show, which is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission. 

Exhibit space is still available and the deadline for the early-bird rate is Nov. 6, 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.
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