The Georgia Development Authority traces its origin back to the Georgia Rural Rehabilitation Corporation which was chartered in 1934 as a part of the farm resettlement program of the U.S Department of Agriculture. In 1949, Congress returned the assets of these rural rehabilitation corporations to the states providing they would create a responsible agency to receive and administer the funds. The Georgia Livestock Development Authority was created by the legislature in early 1953. Later in that year or early 1954, the Authority and the Rural Rehabilitation Corporation merged under the title of the Livestock Development Authority. In 1957, the name was again changed to Georgia Development Authority.
The Georgia Development Authority (GDA) was created as a public corporation and an instrument of the state to assist Georgia agriculture and industry interest by insuring loans to farmers and businessmen. Its purposes include rural rehabilitation; development of agriculture and industry by providing security of guaranteeing loans for such purposes; possession of an operation of any franchise, license, or permits granted to the GDA for business purpose by the United States or the State of Georgia.
The assets, which provide the reserves to insure such loans, were transferred in 1954 from the Federal Government to the Georgia Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, a predecessor to the present GDA. One of the original conditions of the transfer, which is still binding on the GDA, is that returned assets and income therefrom will be used only for the rural rehabilitation purposes agreed upon by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the administering agencies. Because all of its assets originated with transfer funds, the GDA’s loan programs are limited to insuring agricultural and agri-business loans. Additional State funds would be required to implement new loan programs to be guaranteed by the Authority.
For many years, the GDA operated as a private corporation under the Executive Reorganization Act of 1972 under Governor Carter. The GDA was not mentioned as being a State Authority and was not formerly assigned to any department of State Government. In 1983, the State Legislature amended the 1960 Law to expand the powers of the GDA to issue Bonds for the purpose of building or expanding water and sewer systems for cities and counties. In actuality, the State Legislature did not realize that there was already a Georgia Development Authority in existence and created two separate authorities. After the discovery that there was an existing Georgia Development Authority, two divisions were established using the same name; the Agricultural Loan Division, which continued the same loan programs and guarantees, and the Environmental Services Division, which implemented the Water & Sewer Bond Program. In 1984, Governor Harris announced the First Time Farmer Loan Program. In 1986, the Environmental Service Division was split out from the GDA and is now known as the Georgia Environmental Resource Authority.
The GDA is a State Authority that is assigned for administrative purposes to the Georgia State Department of Agriculture. The GDA is governed by a board of Directors consisting of seven members. Serving ex-officio are the Commissioner of Agriculture as Chairman, Commissioner of Industry and Trade, State Auditor and four members appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. Our current Board of Directors include: Chairman and Commissioner of Agriculture - Gary W. Black, Vice Chairman and State Auditor - Greg S. Griffin, Secretary - Jake Redmon, Commissioner of Industry and Trade - Chris Carr, Steve Singletary, John Mark Mobley and Vincent "Zippy" Duvall.