Support Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for Family Farms
Georgia Farmers Need Our Support at the Polls This November
Vote "Yes" on Referendum B
Help Us Educate Voters of the Importance of Referendum B
This ballot referendum has the power to not only help small family farms continue to stay in business, but to grow and thrive. By helping to pass this ballot measure, we can provide Georgia farmers some relief from today’s increased input prices and the large amounts of capital they must invest in agriculture to grow our food and fiber.
How Can You Help?
1. Vote “YES” on Referendum B in November to support merged family farms.
2. Help us educate others using the talking points below.
3. Check out our Promotional Took Kit for Referendum B for tools to help us spread the word on social media.
Helpful Talking Points
With your help with can provide small Georgia farms with much needed financial relief so they can continue to provide fresh, locally-grown food and fiber. Check out the WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW below for helping talking points you can share with others.
WHAT IS REFERENDUM B?
During the 2021 Georgia Legislative Session, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), alongside other allied agricultural organizations, worked with Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) to pass HB 498 dealing with ad valorem tax exemption on farm equipment and products. It would clarify that two individually qualifying family farm entities that have merged to form a singular entity would still qualify for ad valorem tax exemption on certain farm products. This change requires it be put before the voters of Georgia and therefore will be on the November 2022 ballot as a statewide referendum.
WHO DOES THIS CHANGE HELP?
This change is designed to help small farmers. From farm equipment to land to livestock, the business of farming has very high input costs. A small farm may not be able to afford these inputs on their own, but could if they partner with another farm to shoulder the costs.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
With the capital-intensive nature of modern day agriculture, many farm families will partner with each other on some of the more costly inputs and equipment needed for day to day operations. This is often done through formation of a partnership made up of two individual family farm entities. It is critical that this merged farm entity still maintain the ad valorem tax exemption on their farm equipment and products that they previously were eligible for. For example, if two family farm entities decide to form a partnership to purchase a new $1 million cotton picker, without this change, they would now be paying ad valorem tax on that equipment simply because they decided to purchase it together to lower the upfront cost. Often the tax bill on a piece of equipment that expensive would prevent the purchase from being feasible. This change would clarify the original intent of the ad valorem exemption, which is to support farm families.
This much needed clarification benefits all Georgians. When our states farm families have the flexibility to make capital investments through a partnership with another farm family, it lowers the overall cost of production and allows for the food and fiber they produce to be sold at a more affordable price point. Georgia consumers will benefit from the downstream effects of lower cost of production through more reasonable food prices at the retail level. With the costs of equipment having drastically risen alongside nearly all other inputs, farmers need this exemption to afford the major expenditures that come with investing in production agriculture.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
To ensure that this much needed change is made, the question on the 2022 ballot must receive a majority vote (50% + 1 votes) in approval of the measure. The ballot will be printed with the following question:
"( ) YES Shall the Act be approved which expands a state-wide exemption from ad
( ) NO valorem taxes for agricultural equipment and certain farm products held by
certain entities to include entities comprising two or more family owned
farm entities, and which adds dairy products and unfertilized eggs of poultry
as qualified farm products with respect to such exemption?"
A “YES” vote to the above question is in support of farmers maintaining their ad valorem tax exemption on certain farm products even if they merge with another qualified farm family. Voting “YES” on this measure is supporting Georgia farmers, consumers, and the future of our states number one industry. Building awareness and support of this measure will require a collaborative effort of farmers, ag organizations, Georgia consumers, and the general public. Educating consumers on the impact that policies like this one have on their day to day life will essential in ensuring its enactment.