Starting at Tiger Mountain Vineyards, the delegation learned about one of the fastest growing sectors of Georgia’s agricultural economy and how UGA is contributing to its success through research into grape production, food safety, and production research and economic development services. With agritourism, poultry and food manufacturing all playing key roles in northeast Georgia’s agricultural economy, the tour covered six points of interest — from Tiger, in the north Georgia mountains, to Flowery Branch, south of Gainesville. “Candidly, there’s nothing more important to the University of Georgia than its linkage with the agricultural industry,” Morehead said during one stop on the tour. “This tour gives the university a chance to showcase what the university does for the agricultural industry and how important that industry is, not only to the state today but to the future of the state.” Food processing businesses in Georgia employ about 60,000 Georgians and make a $12.5 billion contribution to the gross state product annually, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. From vineyards and vegetable patches to state-of-the-art food processing and food safety operations, agriculture in northeast Georgia is made up of a large and diverse set of enterprises. “This year’s tour was somewhat different,” Angle said. “We visited food manufacturing facilities, in addition to farms, to show the scope of our college’s contributions to the agricultural economy and to demonstrate the full spectrum of agricultural activities in the state — from farming to food safety and manufacturing value-added products.” Ag and natural resources tourism is a $142.3 million business in Georgia, according to the most recent UGA Farm Gate Value Report. “This tour is just another example of our efforts to help connect the dots, and we feel that we did that today with some great dialogue between the businesses visited and the members of our delegation,” Black said. University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead took time to learn more about the farms, factories and laboratories that contribute to the region and the state’s largest industry Wednesday during the president’s annual farm tour. This is the third year Morehead has joined Georgia’s Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and members of the Georgia General Assembly to visit local farms and food-based businesses around the state. In 2013, the delegation visited farms in northwest Georgia, and in 2014, they visited farms in southwest Georgia. This year the focus was on northeast Georgia. To round out the tour, the delegation visited Sonstegard Foods, a third generation business that provides eggs and a variety of egg products throughout the U.S. While the majority of Georgia’s poultry is raised for meat, eggs are a $7.79 million business in the state, according to the farm gate value report. While still in its infancy, the wine industry in Georgia makes an annual impact of $81.6 million on the state’s economy, according to a 2013 report from the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. At each stop, farm and plant managers shared ways in which UGA has contributed to their success and ways that the university could help in the future. Morehead also visited the headquarters of the Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network in Gainesville, which is one of several state-of-the-art facilities built to protect the safety of Georgia’s most valuable commodity — poultry. Georgia’s poultry farmers produce $5.2 billion dollars worth of chicken and eggs each year, according to the farm gate value report. After touring the poultry lab, the delegation visited King’s Hawaiian Bakery to see how some those eggs are used. King’s Hawaiian Bakery, which produces sweet buttery rolls and loaves of bread, built a plant in Georgia in 2011 that now produces half of the nation’s supply of King’s Hawaiian Bread. Sen. John Wilkinson, chairman of the Georgia State Senate’s Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee; Rep. Terry England, chairman of Georgia House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee; and J. Scott Angle, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences accompanied Morehead and Black on the tour. Drew Echols, manager at Jaemor Farms and a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alumni, explained how horticultural research at UGA has helped strengthen their vegetable and fruit production and helped the farm to grow into an agritourism destination that attracts visitors from all over the country. While in Tiger, they also visited Hillside Orchards, a top producer of specialty jams, jellies and ciders. They then traveled to Jaemor Farms, in Alto, where many of Hillside’s products are sold. “Each year our farm tour proves to be an excellent opportunity to showcase the impact UGA has on the lives of everyday Georgians,” Angle said. “It’s also a great chance to learn about the issues and the opportunities facing Georgia’s farmers and how we can help.” For more information about the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences visit caes.uga.edu.
“He failed to provide concrete answers on specific issues such as the capital markets union, shadow banking or the European deposit guarantee scheme, which is the last remaining component of the banking union. These issues are of the utmost importance for the Socialists and Democrats.“We will ask him to provide clarifications during an exchange of views with members of the economic and monetary affairs in the European Parliament.”German MEP Sven Giegold, a member of the Green Party, tweeted yesterday evening saying Hill would be invited to a new exchange with MEPs.In German, the MEP said Hill had received “nachsitzen”, the German word for school detention.During his confirmation, Dutch and UK parliamentarians urged Hill not to let the revised IORP Directive “become the next Solvency II”.The British commissioner-designate was repeatedly challenged over his links to the financial lobby and asked to clarify his view on regulation and how it could be perceived as hindering growth.Hill – handed the prestigious financial stability, financial services and capital markets union brief by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker – repeatedly stressed the need for transparency and said he would follow the example set by outgoing internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier in disclosing his meetings.Fielding a question by Giegold, who had previously criticised Hill’s nomination due to his past links to the financial services lobby, Hill insisted he was not a “representative of the City of London”.One parliamentarian from the UK later challenged Hill to guarantee the revised IORP Directive would not “become the next Solvency II”, while a Dutch MEP said her countrymen needed reassurance their pension system would not be subject to “far-reaching harmonisation” stemming from a belief that ‘one size fits all’ regulation should be applied to the financial industry.Hill said he believed the Commission was “taking a different approach” as far as IORPs were concerned, and was “very conscious” on the work needed to devise solutions that worked “in the interest of the greatest number of players”.On the matter of sustainability, a brief now handed to Justice commissioner-designate Vĕra Jourová, Hill nonetheless said that if companies were not acting in the long-term interests of shareholders “you end up with problems”.Other lawmakers voiced concerns that Hill’s remit to promote growth and investment would come at the expense of regulation.The former leader of the UK’s House of Lords, the country’s upper chamber, assured MEPs there would not be a “mindless bonfire of everything” and said it was a “false dichotomy” to see it as a matter of growth versus regulation.However, he insisted part of his role would be to identity any obstacles “standing in the way of the free flow of capital”, a matter that would be addressed through the proposed creation of the Capital Markets Union.The proposal for a more unified capital market, one of Juncker’s core pledges, has yet to be fleshed out, with Hill saying he did not yet have a “grand vision”, just weeks after his appointment.But he acknowledged it was a “project for all 28 [member states]”.The commissioner-designate did stand by Juncker’s proposed timeline for the launch of the union, by 2019, and said elements of it would be in place much sooner.He also said the European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF) could potentially allow the Commission to incentivise investments in projects tackling climate change. Incoming financial markets commissioner Jonathan Hill has been called back to the European Parliament for a second hearing, in an unprecedented move and a potential blow to the UK government’s nominee.Hill, who endured a three-hour hearing yesterday in front of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), was criticised by MEPs for not providing enough detail in his answers.As a result, the UK Conservative Party peer will return to face the committee for another grilling.The Socialist and Democrat Party confirmed Hill would have to return and said while the party believed he could be a good commissioner, he was not convincing over the “content and priorities” of his portfolio.