Legislative Session Report Week 2



January 21, 2022



  • Quiet Week Under the Gold Dome
  • Joint Appropriations Committee Meets
  • Georgia Farm Bureau Establishes Impact Fund
  • Last Chance to Register for GFB Day at the Capitol!
  • Register for the 2022 Georgia Ag Forecast
  • Bills That Remain Eligible in 2022
  • Not a Member of Georgia Farm Bureau? Join Today!
  • Dates to Remember



The Georgia General Assembly did not use any of its 40 legislative days this week as the Joint Appropriations Committee met to discuss the AFY22 and FY23 budgets. While many legislators were present at the Capitol for the hearings, there was a considerable number who attended virtually. The week of budget hearings lasted through Thursday and legislators are set to return on Monday, January 24th for legislative day 5. 

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) staff will continue to monitor the proposed budget while advocating for initiatives and programs important to agriculture. We expect to see legislative work pick up next week as committees begin to meet regularly and work on specific legislation. GFB will be present each day of the 40-day legislative session to monitor, protect, advocate and report on issues impacting our members and Georgia agriculture.

Joint Appropriations Committee Chairmen Sen. Blake Tillery (left) and Rep. Terry England (right) hear testimony during this week's budget hearings. (Photo Credit: Georgia House Photo)

Joint Appropriations Committee Chairmen Sen. Blake Tillery (left) and Rep. Terry England (right) hear testimony during this week's budget hearings. (Photo Credit: Georgia House Photo)



This week, the Joint Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Terry England and Sen. Blake Tillery, started the process of determining the AFY22 and FY23 budgets by hearing testimony from agency heads. With state revenues seeing a more than 18.1% increase in during the first half of FY22, the budget is expected to contain multiple funding increases and even a tax return to every Georgian totaling $1.6 billion. Please see last week’s legislative report for a highlight of what’s included in the Governor’s proposed AFY22 and FY23 budgets.  

The committee also heard about the current state of our economy from Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, Georgia’s state fiscal economist. He presented his predictions for the months and years to come with a minor economic slowdown being likely as we enter FY23 and a more normal rate of growth in the years following. Dr. Dorfman discussed the labor market challenges we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic as many jobs are still unfilled and turnover rates remain high. When questioned by committee members about the increase in food prices accompanied by a decrease in the price paid to the farmer, Dr. Dorfman brought up the increased input cost across the board for farmers, processors, and the retail sector. 

Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black presented to the committee, giving an update on the Department's progress and challenges during the past few years, including employee retainment due to competitive salary offerings. With the state being three years removed from Hurricane Michael, Commissioner Black recounted the success of the Hurricane Michael Block Grant program and thanked them for their work to secure that funding for our state’s farmers who were impacted by the storm. He also discussed the desire for the Department to retain the profits from the state’s farmers markets in order to run them like a business rather than receiving annual appropriations for operation of the markets. The Commissioner credited the legislators’ work last year assisting with the markets through the establishment of the Georgia Agricultural Trust Fund, which allows GATE Card revenue to be used for the markets’ operations—totaling approximately $1.8 million.

Next week, budget hearings will continue and subcommittees will dive deeper into requests for the AFY22 and FY23 budgets. During subcommittee hearings, specific asks will be made by agencies as to what changes they would like to see concerning their budgets. GFB will continue to track the budget process and advocate for the priorities of our members and Georgia agriculture.


ImPACt Fund Logo


On December 7, 2021, after nearly two years of diligent evaluation and consideration, voting delegates at the 2021 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Annual Meeting unanimously endorsed the creation of the GFB Impact Fund, a political action committee (PAC), to advocate on behalf of agriculture, farmers, and our rural communities. The following week, the GFB Board of Directors unanimously voted to put it into action and simultaneously authorized the GFB Mutual Insurance Company to match every dollar contributed to the GFB State Impact Fund by February 28, 2022 - up to $500,000!

With election season on the horizon, it is vital that we work to get our PAC up and running as quickly as possible. Support for the GFB State Impact Fund can come from county Farm Bureaus, GFB members, local farm businesses, and others who share our mission. This additional tool will allow us to support the candidacies and elections of qualified individuals to public office who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering and strengthening the agricultural industry, regardless of political affiliation. With your support, we can ensure your voice has a seat at the table to protect agriculture for the next generation.

Each contribution to the GFB State Impact Fund is voluntary and will support candidates who support agriculture and Georgia Farm Bureau values. To learn more about the GFB Impact Fund, please contact Katie Duvall.

To contribute to the GFB State Impact Fund, please return your check and this form to:

GFB State Impact Fund
Attn: Katie Duvall
1620 Bass Road
Macon, GA 31210

*All contributions are solely voluntary and not tax deductible. Each contribution must be accompanied by the contribution form to be accepted.



The 2022 Georgia Ag Forecast will be held at the Tifton Conference Center on January 28, 2022 beginning at 8:30 a.m. This annual seminar shares the latest research and information from UGA faculty to support Georgia’s No. 1 industry. Registration is now open for both in-person and virtual attendance.  

As the state’s land-grant and flagship institution, the University of Georgia and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is committed to sharing the latest economic projections for agriculture, both locally and beyond. Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, a Professor in Agricultural and Applied Economics, is this year’s keynote speaker. 

Breakout sessions include:

  • livestock and poultry 
  • horticulture 
  • row crops
  • timber and land taxation

The 2022 Georgia Ag Forecast is made possible by: Farm Credit Associations of Georgia, Georgia Department of AgricultureGeorgia GrownGeorgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Agribusiness Council



To find more on a specific bill, visit the Georgia General Assembly website and use the "Search Legislation" tool at the top right.


HB 44:
Reps. Cantrell, Greene, Barr, Werkheiser, Gambill, and Williams
This bill would require Georgia to observe Daylight Savings Time year-round. This will only become effective if Congress authorizes states to observe daylight savings time year-round.
House Passed/Adopted on 3/5/2021. Assigned to Senate Rules Committee on 1/10/2022.


HB 139:
Reps. Mainor, Dukes, McClain, Mallow, and Thomas
This bill would prohibit trains from blocking any traffic crossing for longer than 15 minutes (with exceptions for safety reasons), and also require signage at crossings providing a telephone number to report such instances.
Assigned to House Transportation Committee on 1/28/2021.


HB 482:
Reps. Lim and Holcomb
This bill would provide a preferential tax rate program that seeks to promote urban agriculture as well as provide for urban agricultural incentive zones that would be located in areas with a 15% or greater poverty rate. The program includes restrictions for properties that enter a contract such as being at least .10 acres but not more than 5 acres and for an initial term of at least 5 years. This bill is the enabling legislation for HR 164 that would put this change on the ballot in 2022 as a constitutional amendment.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/17/2021.


HB 496:
Reps. Burchett, Burns, Rhodes, Ridley, and Williams
This bill seeks to create a $1,000 Annual Forest Product Permit, issuable by the Department of Transportation, allowing vehicles hauling timber up to a gross weight of 95,000, up to 10 feet wide, and no more than 100 feet long.
Assigned to House Transportation Committee on 2/18/2021.


HB 500:
Reps. Burchett, Blackmon, Dickey, Rhodes, and Watson
The Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act, established in 2017, provides a system of non-traditional loans for rural businesses to encourage economic growth and jobs. This legislation would provide the second round of funding, in the amount of $100 million, to replenish the program.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/18/2021.


HB 504:
Reps. Williamson, Reeves, Burns, Knight, Blackmon, and Lott
Similar to HB 500, this legislation provides a second round of funding for the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act in the amount of $100 million. However, the bill goes on to create a new NAICS code and tax program for medical equipment and supplies manufacturers. Additionally, this bill goes on to address other tax credit programs dealing with high-impact aerospace defense projects, Georgia ports, and railroads.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/18/2021.


HB 608:
Reps. Wiedower, Burns, Smyre, Parsons, and Kelley
In an effort to enhance the expansion of broadband to unserved areas, this legislation authorizes the use of OneGeorgia funds to award contracts to qualified providers under the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative.
Assigned to House Governmental Affairs Committee on 2/24/2021.


HR 164:
Reps. Lim and Holcomb
HR 164 would allow for a constitutional amendment to be on the ballot in 2022 should HB 482 pass. See above for additional information on HB 482.
Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee on 2/17/2021.


SB 30:
Sens. Beach and Harbison
Senate Bill 30 would provide for pari-mutuel horse racing in the state at a limited number of licensed equestrian centers, create the Georgia Horse Racing Commission, and provide for the comprehensive regulation of pari-mutuel horse racing and related activities.
Referred to Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on 1/28/2021.


SB 65:
Sens. Gooch, Miller, Cowsert, Tillery, Harper, and Hatchett
In a continued effort to expand broadband access to rural and un-served communities, this legislation allows the Public Service Commission and Department of Community Affairs to utilize a portion of the Universal Access Fund for such services.
Assigned to Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee on 2/2/2021.


SB 118:
Sens. Harper, Burke, Tillery, Goodman, Anderson, and Kennedy
SB 118 would increase truck weights for 6-axle timber haulers up to 100,000 lbs.
Assigned to Senate Transportation Committee on 2/10/2021.



The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation has a membership of almost 250,000 and serves as state's the largest general farm organization.  Our goal is to provide leadership and assistance to the agricultural sector, to promote farm products, to aid in ag-related procurement, to be a spokesman for the farmer in the legislative arena, to be a leader in the development and expansion of farm markets, and to strive for more agricultural research and educational funds and facilities.

With members in all 159 Georgia counties, Georgia Farm Bureau is dedicated to promoting and improving agriculture in our counties, state and nation and in continually improving and expanding our service-to-member programs which serve to enhance the quality of life for all Georgians.

Membership in Georgia Farm Bureau is open to everyone. You don't need to be a farmer or have insurance with us to join Farm Bureau!

If you would like to become a member of Georgia Farm Bureau, you can start your membership online right now! We have a simple application process, and you can be our newest member in just a couple of minutes. Click the button below or use our County Office Locator to find the office nearest you.




  • February 1: Equine Youth Day at the Capitol
  • February 1: Georgia Agribusiness Council Annual Meeting, Atlanta
  • February 2: Georgia Agribusiness Council Legislative Breakfast
  • February 2: GFB Presidents' Conference, Augusta
  • February 8: GFB Day at the Capitol
  • February 9: Georgia Young Farmers Association Day at the Capitol
  • February 16-18: 60th Annual Georgia Cattlemen's Association Convention, Savannah
  • February 22: Georgia FFA Day at the Capitol
  • March 1 and 3: GFB Commodity Advisory Committee Spring Meetings, Macon

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Public Policy Department Staff

Alex Bradford, Director
Raynor Churchwell, Agricultural Programs Manager
Katie Duvall, Advocacy and Policy Development Coordinator
Renee Jones, Operations Coordinator
Jake Matthews, Governmental Affairs Specialist
Jeremy Taylor, Agricultural Programs Specialist