Hickman Named Chair of Study Committee on ‘Preservation of Georgia’s Farmlands’

State Senator Billy Hickman, who represents counties in southeast Georgia, has been named Chairman of the Senate Study Committee on the Preservation of Georgia’s Farmlands.

The appointment was announced Friday by Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones. The Senate Study committee follows the passage of Senate Resolution 470 during the 2024 legislative session.

SR 470 was sponsored by Hickman and four other state senators in February. Senator Colton Moore was the sole NO vote, though study committees rarely have opposition on the chamber floor, irrespective of their subject matter or usefulness for legislative action.

The resolution noted that:

  • the Georgia Conservancy’s Georgia Now and Forever initiative determined that Georgia lost approximately 2.6 million acres of crop, hay, and pasture land from 1974 to 2016
  • farmers face numerous economic pressures, including the threat of litigation, 8 cost inflation with respect to supplies and equipment, volatile prices for their crops, and 9 steadily increasing property taxes
  • additional legislative measures may be necessary to give local communities the ability to protect Georgia’s farmlands as a vital state resource and to slow the permanent conversion of this resource to other uses

The committee will subsequently “evaluate farmland protection measures implemented in other agricultural states and seek the advice of experts in agricultural economics, tax policy, land management, economic development, environmental law and policy, and other disciplines in considering additional measures that may be necessary and appropriate for Georgia.”
Read SR 470 here.

Hickman is Vice Chairman of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism committee, Chair of the Senate Higher Education committee and member of both Appropriations and Finance. His district, which is State Senate District 4, includes Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, and a small part of Chatham counties.

The following members will serve on the seven-member committee:

  • Senator Billy Hickman (R – Statesboro) – Chairman of the Study Committee
  • Senator Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas)
  • Senator Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta)
  • Senator Jason Esteves (D – Atlanta)  
  • Senator Russ Goodman (R – Homerville)
  • Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D – Dawson)
  • Senator Sam Watson (R – Moultrie).

Senators are paid a $247 per day per diem rate for the study committee days in addition to their $23,341.72 annual legislative salary.

No dates for meetings have been set.

Contact information for Senator Hickman is as follows:

billy.hickman@senate.ga.gov
Office: (912) 682-5819
P.O. Box 25
Statesboro, GA 30459

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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