Gov. Kemp Proposes Program to Support Georgia Farmers and Food Banks
Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp yesterday joined the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Department of Human Services, members of the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia Food Bank Association, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association to announce a proposal which will benefit Georgia farmers and food banks.
"At a time when demand for Georgia food bank services has increased, we are proposing legislation to support and leverage an underutilized law that combats agricultural waste and addresses fresh produce shortages in regional food banks," said Governor Brian Kemp. "Together, we will continue to fight hunger and support our farm families."
Regional food banks currently receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). At the state level, funds have not been appropriated to a complementary program since its inception in 1998. Governor Kemp is proposing legislation which will improve the applicable Georgia code and provide a more clear path for the implementation of this program at the state level.
To complement legislative updates, Governor Kemp will also include funding in his budget proposal to support this program. Ultimately, these actions will allow more farmers to enter the market and be compensated at a level equal to input costs plus half of appreciation for unsold produce rather than wasting 4-5 million pounds of surplus produce, as has been the case in recent years.
This program also helps food banks by giving them more resources to purchase Georgia Grown fresh produce, open the market for increased bartering, and better serve their clients. By opening this market, food banks can stretch program funding over more purchases. Additionally, implementation of this program will increase the amount of matching funds Georgia is eligible for under the TEFAP.