Georgia Cattlemen's Association works to advocate for all members on a variety of industry concerns in both Atlanta & DC. Through our Legislative Committee, policy decisions are made for the benefit of all cattlemen. The issues that we worked on in the Georgia 2024 session are:

HB 1274 - Vet Loan Repayment Program
Cattle producers often have difficulty with veterinary care in rural Georgia. This is problematic when care of livestock is needed, especially now that many of the typical antibiotics are prescription only and requiring a vet client patient relationship. This bill will expand the available counties to be eligible due to population size, set a 3-year program so veterinarians are not required to reapply each year, and increase the funding to $25,000 per candidate which is higher than the current rate. The program also requires veterinarians to be no more than 10 years from graduation, encouraging them to establish a practice in a rural area, which will help producers secure the veterinary care they need for their herds.

HB 827 - Livestock Theft
While cattle theft is not the historic cutting of fences or opening gates to unlawfully take cattle, it does still happen though through the course of normal business where a person may buy cattle on behalf of others without their knowledge. The value of cattle has gone up significantly since this law was enacted and would provide peace of mind for producers while more appropriately penalizing those who commit livestock theft. This bill would increase the fine, jail term and make it a felony to steal livestock higher than $100 in value. It also increases the penalty for theft of livestock $100 and lower. This bill also allows for the Georgia Department of Agriculture the ability to pursue criminal action in these cases.

HB 1172 & SB 542 - Navigable Streams
After the passage of SB 115 this past session, cattle producers and land owners were left with uncertainty as to their rights regarding the use of navigable streams. These bills would remove the public trust doctrine from the language in the bill and provide certainty as to the use of navigable streams within the state.

HB 908 - Food Establishment Menu Marketing
This bill would require food establishments to list lab-grown protein or vegetarian offerings prominently and conspicuously on their menus.

HB 1099 - Purple Paint Law
Cattle producers often have people trespassing on their property and the current statute will only allow for a warning to be issued by law enforcement. This bill would allow landowners to mark their property by either using purple paint on trees and fence posts or the use of signs to mark private property. This bill would also allow for law enforcement to issue citations for trespassing on private property.

The issues that we worked on in the US 2024 session are:

Farm Bill Priorities
Enhance EQIP Funding & Expand Coverage - Cattle producers arguably derive more value from EQIP than any other program within the Farm Bill. This important program is often used to provide cooperating costs for producers to install interior fences and develop water resources on their operations. While this provides much needed support, the program does not provide funding for perimeter fences. While a new interior fence is great, if the producer doesn’t have good perimeter fences it won’t keep the cattle in. We respectfully request that the program is expanded to include at least partial payment for perimeter fencing to ensure the value is extended for the current programmatic coverage.
Feral Swine Eradication Efforts - In the last Farm Bill, a pilot program for Feral Swine Eradication was included in the Miscellaneous Title. This program was highly succcessful in our state and with the continued impact that feral swine has on cattle pastures and other agricultural crops, the continued removal can be greatly beneficial. Expanding this program will help not only the cattle producers in Georgia, but across the country as well.

Black Vulture Relief Bills
Black vultures are the largest predators of Georgia’s cattle industry. These birds are typically carion that are now attacking cows and calves during the birthing process or just after the calf is born. These birds are protected by the migratory bird treaty act and were protected at the beginning of the last century due to over harvesting for their feathers used in women’s hats. Their numbers have balooned over time and are no longer hunted. These bills would make it easier to secure a permit to take the birds in a predation situation and remove the restrictions limiting the number taken. We urge the passage of these bills to provide relief for cattle producers.

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