ATLANTA, GA – It was an impressive show of strength for the Georgia Farm Bureau recently in Atlanta, as hundreds of members attended Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol.
Once a year, two different worlds come together as farmers from all over the state make the trip to Atlanta for a chance to have their voices heard at the state capitol, and as always, the turnout was impressive as around five hundred farmers packed the depot for a morning briefing by GFB President, Gerald Long.
Alex Bradford, State Affairs Coordinator for Georgia Farm Bureau says, “the main goal today is to just let legislators know of farm bureau’s presence across our state and the strong grassroots network that we have that pays attention to the political process and is heavily involved, and they participate, they’re up to date on their issues, they’re active, and when things are impacting them on the farm, they don’t hesitate to show up and voice those concerns or support for issues their legislators are carrying at the capitol every day.”
This day is an important one for agriculture, as it gives farmers a chance to connect with those that represent them and ultimately make decisions that affect them and their operations on a day to day basis.
Daniel Johnson, South Georgia Vice President for Georgia Farm Bureau says, “today is a good opportunity for our members to get out and see our representatives and let them know what they need or feel, because I’ve always been under the impression, and still am, that these people work for us, we elect them to be here, and we need to make sure they’re doing their job.”
Members are not the only ones that look forward to this day in Atlanta. Representatives are also happy to see members there, packing the capitol building full, being active, and talking with them about issues they’re facing.
“As legislators, we really look forward to our constituents coming up, our AG people, let us know what’s on their mind. It’s very important that we hear straight from them, the issues, and we can take it straight back to the legislature and work on those things,” says Robert Dickey, Representative for Georgia’s 140th District.
As legislators open session, they open up the floor for debates on legislation, but according to state affairs coordinator, Alex Bradford, it’s not always new legislation, it is often times legislation that has already been passed and needs some work.
Bradford says, “a lot of times it’s identifying things that may not be the direct consequence of a bill or the intent, but may have some repercussions that impact agriculture, and we try to identify those and rectify that situation with committees before the vote on them on the floor.”
While at the capitol, President Long, as in past years, got a chance to take the podium in both the house and senate to address legislators, showing his importance to the Georgia AG industry as the state’s largest AG organization.
“We thank you all for everything you all do, to help agriculture be successful so that each county in this state can be successful, and not only make agriculture number one in Georgia, but make Georgia number one in the nation,” says Long.
During their lunch break, representatives joined members for a meal back at the depot where Governor Deal was in attendance and took the podium, showing just how much importance and respect this organization has.
“It’s the largest AG organization in the state of Georgia, and we have got to have a voice. I don’t care if you’re a hunter or a fisherman, or in agriculture, or anything, Georgia farm Bureau can give you the voice on the legislative side of anything that comes up in this state,” says Johnson.
By: John Holcomb