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Consumer Qs with Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black
Gary Black web
Gary Black - Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture

      Q: I had to go inside the gas station to get my receipt because it did not print at the pump. Is this a violation of state regulations?

      A: Having to go inside is certainly an inconvenience when you are paying at the pump - an inconvenience that the station will probably want to correct. However, it is not a violation of any regulation as long as the station does offer you a receipt showing the correct gallons, price per gallon, total sale and the product that you purchased.

      Q: I heard about a study that stated if Georgians ate more local produce it would help the state's economy. Do you have any information on this?

      A: Yes, a recent study reported that if each of the approximately 3.7 million households in the state devoted just $10 per week to locally grown products from Georgia, it would add more than $1.9 billion back into the state's economy. While that would help the economy, the best reasons to buy Georgia Grown products are because they are fresher and taste better than those shipped from thousands of miles away. It can also be fun and educational for you and your family to visit a farm or a farmers market and meet the actual farmers. The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin offers pick-your-own lists to help connect customers and farmers. The first list of the year will be in March for pick-your-own strawberry producers. The study referenced in the question was conducted by the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

      Q: I am concerned about lightning striking a large (and beloved) tree on my property. I have seen a lightning protection system using metal cables on trees at an old garden. Do you have any information about how to install such a system?

      A: Contact a certified arborist to do this for you. There are three reasons why you should leave this to a trained professional: First, is your personal safety. Climbing into the top of a tall or (not so tall) tree can be dangerous. Trying to work in such a location when you have no training or experience is even more dangerous. Second, is the health of the tree. Using the wrong equipment to climb or to install the system can damage the tree. Third, an improperly installed system can make lightning damage to the tree worse or more severe than having nothing at all. The cost of a certified arborist may seem expensive, but if you subtract the cost of hospitalization, the cost of removing a dead tree or the cost of having a tree land on your house, it may seem like a good investment. Also, if you lose a century-old tree, you cannot purchase another one at any price.

      If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at or write us at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 227, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail us at To learn more about agricultural issues, get garden tips and find sources for flowers, livestock and other agricultural products, consider a subscription to The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions for Georgia residents are $10 per year. To start a subscription, send a check or money order payable to Market Bulletin at the address above.


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