Ag News

GFB board sets 2019 priority issues

The Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors established the organization’s priority issues for 2019 during its December meeting. These are key areas of interest that the board identified as needing particular attention in the coming year. GFB will continue to consider other issues as they arise.

The 2019 priority issues are taxes and budget, natural resources and environment, animal agriculture and general ag issues.

Within the taxes and budget category, GFB seeks to preserve sales tax exemptions of farm inputs through active maintenance of the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption program while working with legislative and regulatory authorities to ensure a simple and user-friendly program is maintained for agricultural producers. GFB also seeks to protect the program from improper use and ensure that the GATE program remains under the oversight of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

GFB also seeks to protect the integrity of the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) program, advocate for funding of agricultural institutions, agencies, youth development programs and their essential staff to meet industry needs, and serve as an educational resource to farm businesses navigating complex tax regulation.

With respect to natural resources and environment, GFB seeks to preserve and enhance “right to farm” laws that shield producers from frivolous nuisance lawsuits filed by individuals who move into rural areas where normal farming operations exist. The organization intends to continue its work to ensure water policy and regulations do not adversely affect agricultural water supply, allowing Georgia farmers to remain competitive with farmers in neighboring states. GFB also plans to seek disaster relief funding for producers severely affected by Hurricane Michael, and to seek a state-level cost-share program to enhance agricultural conservation and promote on-farm conservation practices.

Under animal agriculture, GFB seeks to protect consumers and farmers from false or misleading labeling of cell-cultured proteins, vegetable-based meat substitutes and non-dairy products. GFB supports and promotes biosecurity practices to minimize prevalent threats, and seeks to limit regulation of animal agriculture at the farm level, and promote positive messages to consumers about animal agriculture.

The organization seeks to ensure new technologies remain available while promoting responsible use, implement common-sense policy to allow farmers the right to repair their equipment, advocate for legislative initiatives that support rural communities and coordinate with regulatory agencies to implement effective control strategies to protect farmers’ crops and land from destructive nuisance animals.