News article on letter HERE
From: “Bryan Tolar”
Georgia Agribusiness CouncilGeorgia Agribusiness Council
1655 South Elm Street
Commerce, GA 30529-2700
Date: April 4, 2011 3:45:08 PM EDT
Subject: Immigration Reform vs. Georgia’s Economy
Dear Representative –
The Georgia Agribusiness Council is pleased to have worked with a broad coalition of business interests to offer the attached letter stating our concerns with the direction of state immigration reform legislation. In a 24 hour period, 270 businesses, large and small, from all across Georgia asked to be included in this letter to you, our elected leadership. Other business interests may weigh in on this issue as well as the week progresses. Our economy is at stake. The letter is attached for your review.
We ask that you work with employers, law enforcement, elected officials and government entities to study the immigration reform efforts in other states and communicate the need for a federal remedy to a federal challenge. Thank you for your consideration.
Bryan Tolar, President
Georgia Agribusiness Council
April 4, 2011
Thank you for the time and effort you have devoted to the difficult topic of illegal immigration in Georgia. We especially appreciate the opportunity to share our concerns with legislators throughout this process.
While the business community agrees that this issue must be addressed, we encourage you to consider both the cost and the overall impact on Georgia’s economy of the provisions included in the bills that come before you in these final days.
The General Assembly wisely requires fiscal notes for bills with financial impact, yet none have been produced for the bills addressing this issue – one with significant impact on business and agriculture as well as state and local government. In addition, a recent report estimated that employers nationally spent $95 million in 2010 to comply with the E-Verify system, concluding that it costs small businesses an average of $127 per new hire to comply with the E-verify process. While we encourage all businesses to abide by Federal law and only hire legally documented workers, our state’s unemployment rate still leads the nation, and we should look for alternatives to adding new costly mandates that could discourage legal job creation. Mandating the E-Verify program will harm Georgia’s economy, not enhance it.
We must also weigh the unintended potential cost of losing major conventions, tourism, and international business opportunities. We have worked for decades to build Georgia into an international business and tourism destination and today our products are welcomed around the world. The needed expansion of the Savannah Port is a testament to the success of selling our goods worldwide. We urge you to consider the message we send to the foreign investors and workers that are vital to our success on the global stage.
Finally, we would also encourage a more thorough discussion of programs implemented in other states – some are creating their own verification programs and others have chosen to accept a valid driver’s license. Whatever verification program you decide is best for Georgia, we hope you will consider using an incentive for compliance as opposed to an unfunded mandate.
It is unfortunate that this matter has fallen to the state as a result of inaction on the part of the Federal government and we have appreciated having the opportunity to be a part of the discussion. Please know that the Georgia business community will continue to advocate in Washington D.C. for a unified and balanced approach to immigration reform, including manageable guest-worker visa programs. We hope that you will consider the points made above, and are confident that your final decisions will keep in mind what is best for our economically-strapped businesses and industries, large and small, that are so vital to our economy.
Marty McLendon, Owner 1-800 RR Emergency, LLC
Jim McLeod 4 P Farms
Bob Delbridge 404-CUT-TREE
Linda Lighthill, Owner A Passion for Pruning
Roger Flota, Owner Abbey View Farms
Jimmy Adams, Owner Adams-Briscoe Seed Company
Jon M. Harris, Vice President AgSouth Farm Credit
Dan Bremer AgWorks, Inc.
Duke Lane Jr. All Lane Southern Orchards
Joseph A. Manning, Owner Allen Pritchett & Bassett LLP
Richard Bare, President / CEO Arbor-Nomics, Inc.
Mark Keightley Artistic Landscapes, Inc.
Deana Price Atlanta Pinestraw
Pete Waller Atlantic Insulation & Refractory
Van Murphy B.C.T. Gin Co., Inc.
Doug Baker, Owner Baker Environmental Nursery Inc.
Joe Barrentine, Owner Barrentine Poultry Equipment Installations, Inc.
Anthony Bentley Bartow Farm & Lawn, Inc.
Johnny Bell, President Bell Irrigation Pipe & Supply LLC
Alan & Vana Bennett Ben-Wood Harvest
Tim McMillan Berrien Peanut Co.
Lamar Vickers Berrin County Farm Bureau
Jason C. Berry, Owner Berry Farms
Scott Reinblatt Big Blue Sky Landscaping
Stu Brown, Owner Bio Lawns Inc.
Cale Blocker, Owner Blocker Farming Enterprises LLC.
Jason C. Berry Blueberry Farms of Ga.
Jim Bone, Owner Bone Agricultural Consulting
Brandon DeWitt Brandon DeWitt Farms
Robert B. Brannen Brannen Farms
James A Brannen Brannen’s Tobacco Whses.
Marty McLendon, Owner Bullneck Contracting, LLC
Rich Chastain C & L Packing
Michael C. Staley, President C&M Residential Services
Joyce Calhoun Calhoun Produce, Inc.
Ben Carter, Owner Carter Land Services LLC
Adair Chambers-Peterson Chambers Brothers Blueberries, LLC
Jimmy Champion, Owner Champion Groves, Inc.
Donald Chase, Owner Chase Farms, Inc.
Scott Chatham President Chatham Landscape Services
Hardy Kaplan, Owner Chattahoochee Home & Garden
Sam Watson Chill C Farms LLC
Tim Thoms, Owner Christmas Acres
John Newman Classic Landscapes, Inc
David Cleveland, Owner Cleveland Organics
David Cleveland , Owner Cleveland Tree Farm
Joe Burns Color Burst
Chuck Cartledge Cotton Partners, LLC
Larie W. Cooper Courtland Mini Storage
Terry Danforth, Owner Danforth Farms
Jay Stephens Davis Landscape
Tony Eaton Delta Fresh Sales, Inc.
Randy Dewitt Dewitt Farms
Randy Dewitt DeWitt Produce Co., Inc.
Paul Chappell, Owner Diversified Trees, Inc.
Buck Anderson Dixie Peanut Co.
Jaclyn D. Ford Dixon Farm Supply
Jaclyn D. Ford Dixon Gin Co., Inc.
Joe M. Dixon, Owner Dixon Seed & Chemical
Gregory M. Walker Docia Farms
Philip Grimes Docia Farms Inc.
Jane Grimes Docia Farms Partnership
Paul and Angie Bagley Downey Trees, Inc.
Jon Ladson Dykes Farms
Alice Adams Early County Gin, Inc.
Wendell T. Ebbett Ebbett Business Solutions
Gail Williams, Office Manager Eddie’s Landscaping, Inc.
James Myrick, Owner Edward L. Myrick Produce
Michele Ambler, Owner Elegant Elements
Roy Embry, Owner Embry Farm Service
Roy Embry, Owner Embry Transport Inc.
Charles B. Evans, Jr., Owner Evans Farms
Tom Shannon Ewing Irrigation
Linda Exum Exum Farms
Linda Exum Exum Pecan Company
Jon Ladson Farmers Gin & Peanut Co. Inc.
Jon Ladson Farmers Trucking Co. Inc.
Wayne Cloud, Owner Fertigation Products & Equipment Co.
F. W. (Bill) Fogg III, Owner Fogg Farm
Jon Ladson Fowler Farms
Lee Bonecutter, Vice President FPL Food LLC
Phil Walters Frank A. Smith Nurseries
Bill Franklin, Owner Franklin Battery and Supply Company
Stephen Feitshans Garden Fresh LLC
Susan Gworek Garden Wonders, Inc.
John Hausler, Owner GardenBuilder
Gary H. Paulk, Owner Gary H. Paulk Farms
Gene Mobley, Owner Gene Mobley Investments
Bryan Tolar, President Georgia Agribusiness Council
Richey Seaton Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Cotton
Steve Mullis, President Georgia Blueberry Growers Association
Zippy Duvall, President Georgia Farm Bureau
Charles Hall Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
Chris Butts Georgia Green Industry Association
Chris Keith, Owner Georgia Horticulture
Don Koehler Georgia Peanut Commission
Charles Griffin Georgia Pork Producers Association
Franklin Burch, President Georgia Tobacco Growers Association
Mary Kay Woodworth, Executive Director Georgia Urban Ag Council
Billy Thomas Georgia Vegetable Co., Inc.
Charles Hall Georgia Watermelon Association
Billy Phillips Gerrald INC.
Terry L. Gerrald Gerralds Vidalia Sweet Onions Inc.
Tony Gibson, Owner Gibson Landscape LLC
Pat Cooney Golf Club of Georgia
Donny Wilson Grande Creek Blueberry Farm
Marta and Mike Garland Greenland Landscape & Masonry
Mike Holland Greenline Distributors
Andrew Grimes Owner Grimes Farms
Paula Dodson H.C. Dodson Farms
Bob Hammock, Owner Hammock Landscapes Inc.
Alex Hardy, Owner Hardy Farms Peanuts
Gerard Krewer Harriett’s Bluff Farm, LLC
Jon Davis, Plant Manager Hart-AgStrong, LLC
Richard C. Sloan Helena Chemical Co.
Jim McCutcheon, CEO HighGrove Partners, LLC
Jamey Adams HighMark Seed Company, LLC
Brandon Houseman, Owner Houseman Pest Control, Inc.
Ken Anders Howard Fertilizer and Chemical
Gary H. Paulk, President Irwin County Farm Bureau
John V. Bennett Jab-J Corp dba Alma Sunbelt Blueberries
Jacob W. Paulk, Owner Jacob W. Paulk Farms Inc.
J.W. Paulk Jr., Owner Jacob W. Paulk Jr. Farms
Janet Humareda John Bowen Turf Company
Mike Mobley John Mobley & Sons
Bob Krueger, Owner Krueger Family Farms
L.G. Herndon Jr., Owner L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms, Inc.
Jon Ladson Ladson Farms
Mark Thelen Landmark Landscapes
Mike Easter, President Landscape Plus
Mark Sanchez, CEO Lane Pecans and Vegetables
Mark Sanchez, CEO Lane Southern Orchards
Ron Lee , Owner Lee Farms, GP
Buddy Leger, Owner Leger and Son, Inc.
Rick LeVan LeVan Irrigation
Ed Walker Lewis Taylor Farms
Dee Ritter Little River Produce LLC
Neal Kicklighter LTF Greenhouses
Eric Lutz, Owner Lutz Berry Farm
Marty McLendon, Owner MAI Services, LLC
Marty McLendon, Owner MAI Trucking, LLC
Joe Jenkins, President Manicure Touch Lawn Care
Matthew Kiefer, President Matthew’s Strawing Service
Ron Lee McCleskey Cotton Company
Jeff McKinley, President McKinley Group, Inc.
Marty McLendon, Owner McLendon Acres, Inc.
Craig McManus, Owner McPlants
Patrick Yi MediPurpose, Inc.
Steve Meeks, Owner Meeks’ Farms & Nursery, Inc.
John Lapide Melon 1 Inc
Moises Desantos MEM Landscaping, LLC
James Allen Miles, Sr. Miles Berry Farm
Micheal E. Miles Miles Brothers Timber
James Allen Miles, Jr Miles Sunbelt Blueberry Corp.
Ken Roberts Miller County Gin Company
Richard Minor, Owner Minor Brothers Farm Partnership
Richard Minor, Owner Minor Produce Inc.
Marty McLendon, Owner MMTM, LLC
Mark Mobley Mobley Gin Company
Jerry Lee, Human Resource & Environmental Services Manager Monrovia Nursery Cairo
Tim Moore, Owner Moore Farms
Linda Nall, Owner Nall Blueberry Farm
Tyron Spearman, Executive Director National Peanut Buying Points Association
Bob Morrissey National Watermelon Association, Inc.
Jody C. Chumbler, President NatureCare Landscape
Rick Upchurch NatureScapes
Steve Murray, President New Leaf Landscape Services
Pete Knapik New Life Landscapes, Inc.
Jake Daughtrey New River Produce LLC.
Kevin Paulen Oasis Landscape and Irrigation
Scott Hart, Jr. Ochlockonee Ridge Farms
Walter McDaniel Okefenokee Botanicals Inc.
Pete Waller Ottawa Farms
Rick Kaldrovics, President Outside Landscape Group, LLC
Jason C. Berry Patriot Gas Co.
Ben Copeland, Jr. Patten Seed Company
David Cleveland , Owner Peach Palette
Al Pearson, Owner Pearson Farm
Tammy Pearson Pearson Landscapes, Inc
Rusty McDaniel, General Manager Pinecliff Planters Cotton Gin, LLC
Bob McLeod Pineview Peanut Co.
Dwayne D. Halbig Pinnacle Environmental Corp.
Timmy Pittman, Owner Pittman Family Farms
Tom Delaney, Director of Government Affairs PLANET – The National Landcare Network
Rachel S. Mizell Poultry Health, LLC
Rachel S. Mizell Poultry Housekeeping Services, Inc.
Clayton Danforth Quality Feedstuffs Inc.
Bill Brim Quality Produce Inc.
Deborah Kelley, Owner R. G. Kelley Co
Ed Cooper Rainey Creek Farm
Michael Davis, Owner Raintree Lawn and Garden
Paul Long, Owner Redbud Lane Nursery
Allen Coleman, Manager Roche Farm and Garden
Mike Ford, Owner Royal Landscaping
Garett Backman Rubicon L.C.
Sam Williams Sam Williams Advertising
Floyd Tanner Sandy Bottom Berries LLP
Richard Saul Saul Nurseries
Pete Wilkerson, Partner Scapes
Tim Floyd, General Manager Sconyers Gin & Whse. Co.
Scott & Janice Craft, Owners Scott & Janice Craft Farms
Allen Miles Sergio n Diaz
J. Simmons Simmons Farms Inc.
Jenny Hardgrave, Owner / President Simply Flowers, Inc.
Don Smith, Managing Partner Simply Green Lawn Care
William H Smith, III & Steve Healy, Owners Smith-Healy Farms, Inc.
Ken Morrow, Owner Sod Atlanta, Inc.
Dixie Speck, Owner Solterra Landscape
Lamar Beamon Southeast Lime & Stone Co.
Dusty Findley Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, Inc.
Kent Fountain & Roger Branch, President / CEO & Vice President Southeastern Gin & Peanut
Steve McMillan Southern Grace Farms Inc.
John Boudrot, President Southern Sod Sales, Inc.
Edward J. Klaas, II, Owner Southern Sprinkler Systems, LLC
Kent Hamilton Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetables
Brad Glen Sowega Cotton, Inc.
Bill Brim Springhill Produce
David Youssi, Owner / President Sprinkler Solutions, Inc.
Steve Montgomery Steve Montgomery and Company
Charles Cowart Still Pond Inc.
Lorne Stipe, Owner Stipe Comtronics
Ben Strickland, Owner Strickland Farms
Jon Ladson Stripling Farms
Elam Rusk Sumter County Producers Gin LLC
Chip Blalock, Executive Director Sunbelt Ag Expo
Phil Walters Sunbelt Turf
John R. Duval SunnyRidge Berry Center
Tony Bass, Owner Super Lawn Trucks
Andy Stone Superior Berries Company
Andy Stone Superior Pine Products Company
Ben Copeland, Jr. Super-Sod
Alan Parrish Sweet Dixie Melon Co.
Ronald Deal Sweet Vidalia Farms
Swede Nelson Sweetwater Irrigaion
Jeff Wainwright Taylor Orchards
Jason Royal, Access Control Manager The Fence Guys
Jimmy Hill, Owner The Hill Group, Inc.
Hugh Glidewell The Landscape Guys, LLC
Joe Edmonson The Other Side, Inc.
Rick Smith The Pruning Guru
Ken Morrow The Turfgrass Group, Inc.
James Kelley The Yard Man Inc.
Tim Thoms, Owner Thoms Trees and Plants, Inc.
Paul Massey Tifton Turf Farms
Paul Miller, Owner Timberline Nursery
Jeff Beasley, Owner Transplant Nursery, Inc.
Jason M. Harris & Jimmie Turbeville, General Manager Tri County Gin, Inc.
Tim Thoms TTPF, LLC
John Boudrot Turfmovers
Gary A. Branch Ty Ty Peanut Company
Todd Guilmette, President Unique Environmental Landscape
Toby Moore USA Poultry & Egg Export Council
Tom Daughtrey Valdosta Plant Co. Inc.
Johnny H. Veazey, President Veazey Plant Company, Inc.
Carlos Vickers Vickers Farms Berrien County
Howard & Kim Brown, Owners W. Howard Brown Farms
Sherry Waldrop Waldrop’s Lawn Care, Inc.
Warren Bicknell, III, Owner Warbick Farms
John J. Kenna Water, Color & Stone Inc.
Wavell Robinson, Owner Wavell Robinson Farms, LLC
Wayne & Paulette Lee, Owner Wayne Lee Farms
Everett Williams, Owner WDairy LLC
Bobby N. Webb Webb Farms
Greg Mullis West End Blueberries
Bob Delbridge Wholesale Wood Products
Albert Wildes, Owner Wildes’ Blueberry Farm
Richard Best, President Wildlife Foods Ltd., LLC
Blake Williams, Owner Williams Blueberry Farm