Governor Nathan Deal joins the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

October 14, 2011 by Flo Rankin (Tifton Gazette)

TIFTON — Gov. Nathan Deal was in town Wednesday to dedicate the Department of Agriculture’s new seed lab and speak at a conference on the future of rural Georgia.

Deal, along with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, was at the seed lab shortly after 8:30 a.m. to greet state legislators and other dignitaries. He said he thought this might be the largest gathering of state legislators he had seen outside of Atlanta. Guests included Sen. John D. Crosby, Rep. Jay Roberts, Sen. Greg Goggans, Rep. Jason Shaw, Rep. Buddy Harden and other state and local officials.

The recently completed seed lab, on Highway 41 South, has been expanded to 72,000 square feet including the original 25,000-square-foot building. It will house the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s seed lab, pesticide residue lab, weights and measures lab, fuel lab and IT data center as well as the consumer protection, livestock/poultry, meat inspection, animal protection and plant protection southern field forces.

The Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network, Federal State Inspection Service and Georgia Secretary of State will also have offices in the building. The facility will replace the Fuel and Weights and Measures labs in Forest Park, the Atlanta Seed Germination Lab and Atlanta Pesticide Residue Lab, and poultry labs in Camilla, Douglas and Glennville.

Deal praised the concept of moving facilities in Atlanta to outlying areas and said the new lab is a step forward in the areas of food safety and production.

He joked that although former Gov. Sonny Perdue was in office when work on the lab began, “If I have to take credit for the HOT lane, I’m going to take credit for this.”

After posing for photos with visitors, Deal went to the conference center to serve as keynote speaker and present ceremonial OneGeorgia checks for projects around the state. One of the checks, for $400,000, went to the Tift County Development Authority for American Textile. American Textile moved into the industrial park earlier

Rep. Jason Shaw of Lakeland presented the governor with a basket of Georgia agricultural products, including a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil made from olives grown on Shaw’s farm. Shaw said the bottle is the first produced from olives grown on the East Coast.