Georgia farmers get some relief from fuel prices - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia farmers get some relief from fuel prices

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May 12, 2008

Worth County--  How would you like 4% off your fill-up at the gas pump?

It's not a lot, but with prices approaching $3.70 a gallon, it sounds pretty good. Unfortunately, Governor Sonny Perdue says the state can't afford to give everyone that relief. 

He did find a way to give that break some folks who play a vital part in Georgia's economy.

In the evening hours, a lone tractor moves across the field in Worth County planting cotton. "We're about 60 percent complete," said Johnny Cochran.

At the same time, farmer Johnny Cochran is moving towards a milestone in his agricultural career. "This is 28 years," said Cochran.

It's been nearly 30 years in the business. But things haven't been as rough as this year.  Prices are moving way faster than his tractor.

"We've seen tremendous increases," said Cochran. Everything has gone up from fertilizer costs to fuel. "It's about $400 a day to fuel a tractor," said Cochran.

A new plan by Governor Sonny Perdue could help ease some of that burden for Cochran. "I was unaware of this until you mentioned it," said Cochran.

Perdue issued an executive order suspending the collection of state gas tax on all off-road diesel. That means farmers can save 4% on their fuel bills. "I'm just delighted the Governor is aware that agriculture is in somewhat of a crisis in relation to fuel usage," said Cochran.

A crisis aggravated by dry conditions and high costs will now be a little better. "We're really in a catch 22 so any relief we get in the form of tax relief or fuel tax abatement is greatly appreciated," said Cochran.

Cochran along with other Georgia farmers will be able to appreciate the gesture well into 2009.

Governor Perdue says the state can't afford to suspend the gas tax for everyone. That money pays for transportation improvements and he says that money is badly needed right now.

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