Georgia DOT Endorses and Supports the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s “Georgia Grown” Program

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, March 29th, 2019

To protect and preserve the natural beauty of the great State of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) will require all state-funded projects to comply with the “Georgia Grown” program, ensuring that contractors use landscaping plant materials grown in Georgia when completing, maintaining, and beautifying Georgia’s interstate highways, state routes, and welcome centers.

Georgia DOT recognizes that the horticulture industry contributes greatly to Georgia’s economy. The Department will require that every effort be made to use plant material native to Georgia, including trees, shrubs, and annual plantings from Georgia nurseries, in its landscaping and maintenance at Georgia’s Welcome Centers and rest areas. Additionally, Georgia DOT’s state-funded construction and maintenance projects will require the use of Georgia-grown trees and shrubs for future Roadside Enhancement Beautification Council (REBC) and any other applicable grants. These moves follow Georgia DOT’s recent efforts to use Georgia-grown trees and plantings in roadside beautification efforts on the I-16 and I-95 corridors, among other locations throughout the state.

The action follows First Lady Marty Kemp’s lead in announcing recently that the Governor’s Mansion is promoting Georgia businesses and farm families through the use of officially “Georgia Grown” ingredients and products.

“Thanks to Commissioner Gary Black’s leadership, Georgia Grown is promoting the very best that our state has to offer in our largest industry,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. “I thank Commissioner McMurry for his commitment to sourcing Georgia Grown products for state-funded projects, and I look forward to seeing our roadways benefit from the hard work of small businesses and farm families across Georgia.”

“Brian and I are very excited that the Georgia Department of Transportation is incorporating the Georgia Grown program into state-funded projects. This commitment will enhance the beauty of our roadsides and promote farm families and small businesses from every corner of our state,” said First Lady Marty Kemp.

“In working with Governor Kemp and the First Lady, and in partnering with Commissioner Gary Black and the Georgia Department of Agriculture under the Georgia Grown provision, we stand to improve the beauty of Georgia’s roadsides while helping to sustain our competitiveness in agribusiness,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry.“We at Georgia DOT are proud to do our part to support Georgia’s leading industry and provide additional business opportunities for Georgia’s nurseries.”

“The opportunity to enhance our environment, add aesthetic value, promote pollinator health, and support our Georgia producers is a win for all Georgians,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “We have enjoyed a strong partnership with Georgia DOT through the Georgia Grown trail and agritourism signage programs, and we are excited to build on that success by championing our state’s strong horticulture industry.”

The Georgia Grown initiative is a marketing and economic development program created by the Georgia Department of Agriculture to aid our agricultural economy by mandating that producers, processors, suppliers, and distributors collaborate statewide. To foster a healthy ecosystem, Georgia DOT is also working with Georgia Department of Agriculture on the vital task of protecting Georgia’s pollinators by developing resources to help landscape architects and contractors identify plant life that will perform well across the state.