The Georgia House of Representatives Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee passed legislation that would establish a Georgia Citrus Commission. It must now go to the House Rules Committee before being discussed in the Senate.
A citrus commission would be a huge step for an industry that has already exploded in Georgia, said Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association (GCA). She addressed the subject at the GCA’s annual conference on Feb. 28.
“The Georgia Citrus Commission would collect an assessment, per pound or per box, which would be determined later on. What it would do is collect some money that would then be used for research, education and marketing of citrus in Georgia,” said Savelle. “That’s huge for us. We’ve not done any marketing of Georgia-grown citrus. It’s just been word of mouth, so I think it would help the industry grow and educate. At the ag committee meeting, I had someone lean over to me and say, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what a satsuma is.’”
A commission would allow growers to invest in their industry while serving as validation that Georgia’s citrus industry can stand on its own two feet.
“The industry keeps going to the University of Georgia (UGA), Georgia Department of Ag and University of Florida, leaning on them for things like research and help. With having a commission fund to pay for certain things, the Georgia citrus industry is basically putting skin in the game,” Savelle said.
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