First Step Taken to Establish a Georgia Citrus Commission

Josh McGillCold Hardy, Legislative

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.

Georgia Citrus Commission
Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association (GCA), spoke at the organization’s annual conference about the value a Georgia Citrus Commission would bring to the industry. During the conference, Justin Jones, GCA board member, recognized Savelle for her years of service to the association.

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.

She added that there was a lot of skepticism about whether the industry could survive extreme cold, but the freezes in December and January have proven the industry’s strength.

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Clint Thompson

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