During its December meeting, the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors approved its set of priority issues for 2021. The GFB Board is not limited to these issues, but the priority issues are topics that have come to the board’s attention and merit specific attention in the coming year.
The 2021 priority issues are Natural Resources & Environment, Animal Agriculture, Taxes & Budget and General Ag Issues. Here are some key points of interest in the topic areas:
Natural Resources & Environment
- Preserve and protect the right of privately-owned land to be used for agriculture and from urban encroachment, unreasonable regulation, and frivolous legal action, especially when in a historically designated agriculture zone;
- Work to ensure water policy and regulations do not adversely affect agricultural water supply so Georgia farmers remain competitive with producers from neighboring states;
- Ensure adequate resources are readily available for producers severely impacted by natural disasters.
- Enhance safe, reliable consumer access to agricultural products through new market opportunities and supply chains;
- Assist livestock producers who have been unfairly targeted by frivolous legal challenges;
- Limit regulation of animal agriculture at the farm level;
- Provide education to consumers on animal agriculture, while protecting producers from false information and misguided sensitivities.
Taxes & Budget
- Advocate for funding of agricultural institutions, agencies, youth development programs, and their essential staff to meet industry needs;
- Protect the integrity of the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) and Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA) programs from changes that would jeopardize the future of the program or undermine their original intent;
- Provide parity and consistency for ad valorem tax exemptions on agricultural property in a way that reflects the modern tax structures of farms but maintains the provision’s original intent;
- Preserve sales tax exemptions of farm inputs through active maintenance of the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program;
- Serve as an educational resource to farm businesses navigating complex tax regulations and programs.
General Agriculture Issues
- Advocate for balanced and equal representation of rural communities through the redistricting process;
- Update Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission rules to allow for a more efficient use of producer funds;
- Promote secure, clear election procedures that enhance voter integrity, while ensuring only legally registered citizens are allowed to vote and close scrutiny of absentee ballots;
- Ensure that new technologies remain available while promoting their responsible use.