In just over four months, state legislators will be returning under the Gold Dome and kicking off the 2024 session. Just like with every year, there are a number of ag issues they’re hoping to address, which is why the annual Joint Agriculture Committee Chairmen Ag Issues Summit is so important, as they discuss issues within agriculture with fellow ag industry leaders and professionals.
“Representative Robert Dickey and myself we co-hosted it and we worked together with our friends across the industry to come up with speakers and with subjects that are near and dear to the ag industry with challenges and opportunities that we need to look at going forward,” says Russ Goodman, Senate Ag Committee Chairman. “We heard some great speakers. We talked about foreign ownership of land. We talked about fertilizer. We talked about a future economic forecast and production agriculture. We just looked at a lot of different subjects and looking at what opportunities lay ahead for us as policymakers, the things we can do to help our state’s farm families and to help our number one industry.”
One of those speakers was Iowa State Extension Economist, Chad Hart, who spoke on the farming economy and the challenges impacting it; everything from the weather to geopolitical factors around the world that Hart says is causing problems for our producers here in Georgia and across the US.
“Just here within the U.S., we’ve had a drought. You know, it’s covered the southern and central part of the U.S. here for the last three years. That definitely has an impact. We’ve seen drought also in South America, but probably one of the biggest things I think farmers throughout the country felt were this, let’s call it the seesaw of import prices that we’ve seen over the past couple of years. Fertilizer was a big one for a lot of folks, especially last year. Compared to this year. We saw prices rocket to record levels. Well, some of that is linked to COVID going back to supply chain problems back then. Some of that is related to the Ukrainian war. A lot of the fertilizers that we bring in here to the U.S. gets its start in Eastern Europe. So, you’re seeing these international incidents combined with natural disasters that have led to increasing expenses here to conduct agriculture,” says Hart.
As mentioned, that wasn’t the only topic discussed, but according to Robert Dickey, House Ag Committee Chairman and farmer himself, it’s that issue he says needs some major attention this upcoming session, as he believes that when ag succeeds, the entire state does.
“We’re facing it all. Agriculture is one of those industries that just gets it all. So we need some levers. We’re looking for what would be good for our citizens and our farmers. I think when farming, the state’s largest industry succeeds, our state will succeed and have trickled down to our community. So that’s one of the challenges, where we look to make sure AG is long term profitable in our state and other states are doing more than Georgia, and that’s where we’re going to look further,” says Dickey.
By: John Holcomb