State house passes Georgia Farm Bureau priority bills
By GFB Public Policy
The Georgia House of Representatives passed two of Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB) priority issues on March 3.
The Freedom to Farm Act (HB 1150), sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) passed by a 102-62 vote. Debate on this bill lasted for approximately an hour.
“Georgia farmers pride themselves on being good neighbors and want to leave the land better than they found it,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “We appreciate the Georgia House of Representatives recognizing our efforts and passing the Freedom to Farm Act. By advancing this legislation, farmers will be protected from nuisance lawsuits that could force them out of business, and in turn, allows our grandchildren an opportunity to continue the agricultural way of life. Our hope is that the Georgia Senate will also support our farmers by passing this bill in its current form.”
During his closing testimony, Rep. Dickey held up a stack of handwritten notes from GFB county presidents to show the widespread support from across the state for these necessary changes to Georgia’s right to farm law.
The bill now goes to the Georgia Senate for consideration. Georgia Farm Bureau will continue its work with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Walker (R-Perry) to push this important legislation toward the finish line. GFB appreciates the broad support from organizations that advocated on behalf of Georgia's farmers including: Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Green Industry Association, Georgia Milk Producers, Georgia Poultry Federation, Georgia Urban Ag Council, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
The House also passed HB 1175, the Georgia Raw Dairy Act. Sponsored by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn), this bill would legalize the sale of raw milk for human consumption by putting in place standards for safety, testing, and regulation. The Georgia Raw Dairy Act would give opportunities, especially to smaller dairy producers, to provide a product that has seen a surge in demand over the years.
GFB is pleased that both pieces of legislation have cleared the initial hurdles by passing the House. Those who have supported these measures along the way are in turn supporting Georgia’s farmers and the agricultural industry.