Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption plan to take effect Jan. 1 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sales tax changes to help Georgia farmers

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CLAXTON, GA (WTOC) -

Evans County farmer Gary Bell has watched the debate for years over sales tax exemptions for Georgia farmers. He was glad to hear a statewide announcement Wednesday that the new Georgia Agriculture Tax Exemption plan takes affect January 1, 2013.

"It is a much fairer system," he said. "In the past, some farmers were getting some exemptions and others were not."

For example, he said, the electricity to power poultry houses was exempt while the power for hog or cattle buildings was not.

"It was a real hodge-podge. This plan brings all of the exemptions under one umbrella," stated Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Gary Black.

Black further noted farmers will be required to register with the state of Georgia and prove they generate at least $2,500 in agribusiness per year. Qualified farmers will receive a GATE card to show retailers.

The plan is expected to save Georgia farmers $72 million over the next two years. Both men think the change could spark farms to purchase more materials, which would also help retailers.

"It will certainly help," Bell said.

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