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DOA surprised by lot of interest in soil amendment regulations

HB 545 in Senate Ag Committee ‘for more work or maybe to die’

The Anthony Shoals Preservation Group has contributed greatly in the revised Georgia Department of Agriculture’s soil amendment regulations. 

Pam Allgood, leader of the preservation group, said that they submitted so many comments for the revision that the Georgia Department of Agriculture had to spend more time on making the revisions to the amendment. 

Allgood was notified by Jennifer Wren, the Agricultural Inputs Program Director in the Plant Industry Division from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, that Aug. 15 would be the earliest the revised rules would be available. 

“She said they had a lot more interest in this than they thought they would,” Allgood said. “When you go from the original soil amendment code [that] was only a paragraph long...and when we got it to redo, it was 14 pages.”  

Allgood said that even when the revised rules are presented as early as Aug. 15, that the process wouldn’t be over. 

“They have to bring these revisions back out and I think they have to do another comment period,” Allgood said. 

The group was also given an update on the progression of House Bill 545 by Dr. Frank Carl of Savannah Riverkeeper.

Dr. Carl, who was not in attendance at the meeting on Aug. 8, gave Allgood a report on his time at the Georgia Water Coalition Leadership meeting where he was given an update on the bill. 

According to the report handed out at the meeting,  HB 545 “has been sent back to the Senate Ag Committee for more work or maybe to die.” 

Dr. Carl added in the report that he believes “as long as it is alive, it poses an existential threat to the Right to Farm Law,” and that members of the group “must remain vigilant to prevent the passage of HB 545.” 

Allgood also handed out calendars to the group in order “to try and get some information” on odors and other complaints from residents near Broad River Valley Farms. 

Codes on the calendar included SM for smell, H for hear, S for see and O for other on types of incidents to report. 

For reported odors, a one to four scale was also included, with one being “no smell” and four being “can not tolerate.” 

Members were encouraged to record every complaint they had and to share with their surrounding neighbors. 

The next meeting of the Anthony Shoals Preservation Group will be held Sept. 12 at the Elbert County Public Library at 7 p.m.

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