ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp signed a package of bills Tuesday aimed at improving agriculture, by far Georgia’s No.-1 industry.

Kemp touted the economic development successes his administration has brought to rural communities throughout the Peach State since taking office in 2019.

“The vast majority of the jobs and the vast majority of the investment that have been created by these great private-sector companies … have been located outside the metro-Atlanta counties, creating opportunities for Georgians to succeed no matter what their zip code,” the governor said during a ceremony in Valdosta.

One of the bills Kemp signed Tuesday is expected to help nurture hemp farming in Georgia, a fast-growing industry.

Senate Bill 494, which passed the General Assembly with strong support, establishes licensing requirements for growing hemp as well as manufacturing and selling low-THC hemp products. It also limits the possession and sale of hemp products to adults at least 21 years of age.

“This bill makes changes to the framework for hemp regulations in Georgia … ensuring products are safe for our consumers,” Kemp said.

Senate Bill 420 prohibits the ownership or acquisition of Georgia farmland by agents of foreign adversaries. The legislation also applies to any type of land located within 10 miles of a military installation.

“We cannot allow foreign adversaries to control something as critical to our survival as our food supply,” Kemp said. “Georgia will do everything in our power to prevent bad actors from threatening our national security.”

The governor also signed several bills not related to agriculture, including legislation named in honor of Austin Walters of Valdosta, who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2021 at the age of 30. Senate Bill 465 makes it a felony to manufacture or sell any substance containing fentanyl that causes a death.

“Austin’s Law will help save the lives of Georgians by fighting back against the criminals that traffic in these deadly substances,” said Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who presides over the Senate. “Today’s signing of Austin’s Law marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to help end this deadly epidemic.”