Friday, September 3, 2010

Powell Shines in First Agriculture Debate Last Night in Gainesville

Presser from the JB Powell for Agriculture Commissioner Campaign:

JB Powell, the Democratic Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, scored a decisive victory tonight in the debate hosted by Georgia Organics.

Will Harris, President of the Board for Georgia Organics said “We are astounded and encouraged by the attendance and support for organic farming.”

JB Powell drew repeated applause from the several hundred people in the audience as he championed the cause of sustainably and locally produced food as a way of promoting food safety, healthy eating and local farming. Powell demonstrated he was the candidate who stood up for the issues that the large crowd in attendance cared about

Specifically, Powell talked about:

Reducing childhood obesity by increasing the amount of locally grown fruits and vegetables served in public schools

Eliminating government regulations that prevent small, local farmers from selling farm products such as raw milk directly to consumers

Creating local markets making it possible for local farmers to sell their food locally

Increasing the percent of food served by the University System of Georgia that is produced sustainably and locally following Emory University’s 75% sustainable and locally grown food initiative

Creating tax credits and loan guarantees for grocery stores that open in low income communities

Growing the amount of acreage in organic production in Georgia from 1700 acres to 5000 acres by 2015

Making it easier for young farmers to get into farming and make a living
Protecting food safety oversight capacity as the Department of Agriculture is required to cut $3.5M in 2011

Conducting a cost benefit analysis for the Department of Agriculture operations in order to determine what can be done more efficiently

During the debate, Gary Black, the Republican candidate, found himself defending his constant ducking on questions as he offered to solve many of the issues by forming a committee. Mr. Black was also questioned by, Kevin Cherry, the Libertarian candidate, about Mr. Black’s ethical challenges that have plagued him during the campaign and then by JB Powell regarding how Mr. Black could be a lobbyist for big agribusiness companies for two decades and expect us to believe he would side with the public instead of the interests of big agribusiness companies.

“I want to commend Georgia Organics for organizing this debate” said JB Powell. “I think the high level of interest in this debate is a strong indicator of the support for organic farming in Georgia and I am proud to support getting locally grown food to local markets. We can grow Georgia’s economy and make our food healthier by increasing the amount of food eaten by Georgians that is sustainably and locally produced.”

JB Powell is a lifelong resident of Richmond County residing in the small agricultural community of Blythe, Georgia. He was elected to the State Senate, District 23 in 2004 and has been the primary sponsor of over 45 bills and co-sponsor of many others. These have included bills promoting Georgia’s agri-tourism business, soil erosion projects and river basin protection. He is an active member of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He serves as an ex-officio member of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee and is a member of the Interstate Cooperation and State Institutions and Property Committees. He is also secretary of the State’s Science and Technology Committee.

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