Ag News

DEF, property ownership bills address ag concerns

Posted on Apr 04, 2024 at 22:39 PM

The Georgia General Assembly adjourned its 2024 session on March 29 having passed a number of bills addressing agricultural concerns, including a Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) provision for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a step to prevent adversarial nations from owning Georgia farmland, and a move to protect private property rights for owners of land next to navigable bodies of water.

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) thanks members of the legislature who worked to promote and defend agriculture and to GFB members who took the time to advocate for the organization's issues, whether it was done through attendance of GFB Day at the Capitol or by contacting their elected officials to advocate on specific issues.

On March 26, House Bill 1172, introduced by Rep. James Burchett (R-Waycross) received final passage in the Senate. This bill has been the top priority of GFB this legislative session.

The bill removes the public trust doctrine from code and restores private property rights to landowners adjacent to navigable waters.  HB 1172 addresses unattended consequences from SB 115, which passed in 2023, while still allowing the public to pass, hunt and fish on navigable waters, which was the original intent of the legislature. In a related matter, a resolution establishing a study committee on navigable waters.

Also on March 26, SB 420, introduced by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) and championed by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn) in the House, received final passage in the Senate. This bill will prohibit the foreign acquisition of farmland within a 25-mile radius of a U.S. military installation by nonresident aliens, businesses based in, or governments of nations deemed foreign adversaries by the U.S. federal government. These include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela. GFB has been a leading voice of support on this issue.

DEF, a fluid used to reduce air pollution from diesel engines, is required under EPA regulations for certain diesel-powered vehicles and machinery, including many used on farms. Senate Bill 340 adds DEF to the list of farm inputs eligible for GATE. SB340 passed on March 28.

Gov. Brian Kemp has 40 days to consider bills passed by the legislature and either sign them into law, veto them, or allow them to become law without his signature.

For a comprehensive rundown of ag-related bills from the 2024 legislative session, see the GFB Public Policy Department’s Legislative Session Report for March 29 at

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