Ag News

Gov. Kemp, state legislators visit with Madison County farmers

by Jennifer Whittaker

Posted on Jun 06, 2024 at 8:22 AM




On May 28 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) held the second in its series of “County Voices - Capitol Choices,” meetings the organization is holding for its members across the state through June 20. Moon Farms Country Market in Colbert, owned by GFB 2nd District Director Russ Moon and his family, hosted the event. The meetings are being held to help connect farmers to their state officials.

GFB President Tom McCall and his wife, Jane, welcomed Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp to the event. Georgia Sens. Frank Ginn (R-Dist. 47) and Steve Gooch (R-Dist. 51) along with Rep. Rob Leverett (R-Dist.123) also attended the event.

“Today we want each of you to hear from your state legislators and Gov. Kemp, and they want to hear from you,” McCall said when starting the meeting.

The lawmakers discussed legislation beneficial to Georgia agriculture that was passed into law this year or last.

“My office appreciates the relationship we have with Georgia Farm Bureau,” Kemp said.  “Talking with Tom and Farm Bureau folks at events like this today is important because it lets me and your legislators know what issues are affecting your farms. It’s important for farmers to be engaged in the legislative process. Agriculture has a lot of influence because of the economic contributions you make on the state level and in your local communities. You buy products from a lot of people in your local communities.”

In 2022, agriculture and related industries contributed $83.6 billion to Georgia’s economy according to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED).

Kemp listed action he has taken to help farmers and rural communities during his time as governor.

“To help fight inflation we suspended the state fuel tax multiple times last year, and we passed a one-time property tax relief measure that benefitted all property owners,” Kemp said. “This year we passed and signed House Bill 1015 that decreases the state income tax rate from 5.49% to 5.39%.”

A Georgia tax law passed in 2022 did away with personal income tax brackets that previously topped out at 5.75% and allows the state income tax rate to drop 0.1% annually until it reaches 4.99%, if state revenues allow further reductions.

“We also decreased Georgia’s corporate tax rates to match personal income tax rates to help small businesses, which employ a lot of people in rural Georgia,” Kemp said.

In April Kemp signed House Bill 1023, which will decrease Georgia’s corporate tax rate to match the current personal tax rate of 5.39%. Moving forward, Georgia’s corporate and personal income tax rates will decrease by the same amount. The lowest either rate can go is 4.99%. Georgia’s corporate tax rate was 5.75% as of Jan. 1.

 Georgia Sen. Frank Ginn, who represents Barrow, Jackson, Clarke and Madison Counties said,

“What we’re trying to do with our state is to make it better for our children and our grandchildren. Our job at the capitol is to make life better.”

Georgia Rep. Rob Leverett, who represents Elbert, Lincoln, and Wilkes Counties, as well as parts of Madison and Columbia Counties, thanked the attending farmers for what they do.

"I wear and eat what you grow. If I can ever help y'all with anything, please let me know," Leverett said.

Georgia Sen. Steve Gooch, who represents Fannin, Union, Gilmer Lumpkin, White, Dawson & parts of Pickens and Forsyth counties encouraged farmers to stay in touch with their state legislators.

“The representative form of government that we have in this country is only as good as the people you elect,” Gooch said.

McCall thanked the governor and state legislators for supporting appropriations in the state budget that will benefit Georgia agriculture including: $300,000 for processing venison donations  to encourage deer harvests to help prevent deer crop damage; $22 million to build a new livestock barn at the Georgia National Fairgrounds for showing goat, sheep and swine; $150,000 for the Georgia Feral Hog Taskforce; a $35,000 increase for the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program to encourage vet students to practice large animal medicine in rural communities; and $10.3 million to buy ag education equipment statewide.

The County Voices, Capitol Choices meetings offer more than legislative updates. They provide a chance to visit with your state leaders and effect meaningful change. Register for one of the coming meetings at

Upcoming meetings, all scheduled for 10 a.m., are:

June 6 Farmview Market, Madison; June 10 Greene Acre Farms, Cochran; June 11 Dutch Ford  Farms, Metter; June 18 Mitchell Co. Ag Center,  Camilla; June 19 UGA SWGA Research Station, Plains; June 20 Paulk Vineyards, Wray.

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