Referendum B passes, Harper elected Commissioner of Ag
In the Nov. 8 general election, Georgia voters showed overwhelming support of a measure that would more accurately reflect the way many farms are structured by allowing them to partner on the more capital-intensive aspects of modern agriculture.
Georgia Farm Bureau supported the measure, which passed with more than 76% of the vote.
The ballot measure clarifies that two individually qualifying family farm entities that have merged to form a singular entity would still qualify for ad valorem tax exemption on certain farm products and equipment.
This change is designed to help small farmers. From farm equipment to land to livestock, the business of farming has very high input costs. A small farm may not be able to afford these inputs on their own, but could if they partner with another farm to share the costs.
Republican Tyler Harper, a current state senator from Irwin County, was elected Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture. Harper will succeed Gary Black, who served as commissioner since 2010. Harper will be the state’s third agriculture commissioner since 1969.
Georgia House and Senate agriculture committee chairmen Robert Dickey (R-Musella) and Larry Walker (R-Perry) both ran unopposed and were re-elected.
Georgia Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington) has been nominated by House Republicans as the new Speaker of the Georgia House to succeed David Ralston, who died Nov. 16, after announcing Nov. 4 he would be stepping down due to health concerns. Burns currently serves on the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee. Burns represents Screven County and portions of Effingham and Bulloch counties. The Georgia House will officially elect its new speaker on the first day of the 2023 legislative session. Republicans hold a strong majority following the Nov. 8 election.
All of Georgia’s incumbent U.S. Congressional members were re-elected: Reps. Buddy Carter (R-1st Dist.); Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District); Drew Ferguson (R-3rd Dist.); Hank Johnson (D-4th Dist.); Nikema Williams (D-5th Dist.); Lucy McBath (D-7th Dist.); Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.); Andrew Clyde (R-9th Dist.); Barry Loudermilk (R-11th Dist.); Rick Allen (R-12th Dist.); David Scott (D-13th Dist.); and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-14th Dist.). Rich McCormick (R-6th Dist.) and Mike Collins (R-10th Dist.) were elected to first terms.
Committee assignments and chairmanships will be assigned early next year as the new session of the Congress starts and the Republican Party takes control of the U.S. House.
U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee member Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is in a runoff election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
Georgia Farm Bureau urges all Georgians to make sure they vote in the runoff election on Dec. 6. Check with your county Board of Elections to find out the dates for in-person early voting and the deadline to request an absentee ballot.