Farms and cities. Farmers and consumers. It’s an interdependent relationship. People need food, clothing and shelter. Farmers grow our food and fiber and raise timber for our homes. Farmers need the food companies that buy their crops and turn them into nutritious food products. We all depend on truck drivers and railroad workers to get the fresh farm commodities and finished food products to our grocery store shelves.
As the holidays draw near, Coffee County Farm Bureau invites you to celebrate this relationship by observing Farm-City Week Nov. 16-23.
Farm-City Week highlights the relationship between Georgia farmers and their partners in urban areas who prepare, transport, market, retail and serve the food and fiber farmers grow for consumers. Kiwanis International began Farm-City Week in 1955 to increase the understanding of the partnership between urban and rural residents.
Reading books about farming to students, working with teachers to have students send thank-you letters to farmers and hosting meals that bring farmers and community leaders together are just a few of the activities county Farm Bureaus will hold in communities across Georgia as their schedules allow to mark this annual event.
“Farmers and our urban partners have worked together to feed Georgians since the state’s beginning. As farmers, we appreciative the transportation workers who drive our crops from our farms to facilities where they’re turned into peanut butter, cheese or bread and the workers who process our crops to make the safe, nutritious food we find at the grocery store,” said Coffee County Farm Bureau President Derek Pridgen. “Our state’s agribusinesses strive every day to produce food, clothing, shelter and other items necessary for American life.”
Agriculture is Georgia’s largest economic sector, and farmers depend on their partners in town such as bankers, Extension agents, equipment and supply salesmen, to keep the agricultural economy going.
In 2020, food and fiber production plus the related industries involved with processing and delivering products to consumers contributed $69.4 billion to Georgia’s economy according to the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED). Agriculture and its related industries also contributed 352,430 jobs in Georgia in 2020.
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Georgia has about 41,300 farms producing food and fiber on an estimated 10.2 million acres.
In 2020, the top ten commodities Georgia farmers grew were broilers, cotton, peanuts, beef, timber, greenhouse plants, corn, blueberries, dairy and hay, according to the University of Georgia’s CAED. In 2020, Georgia led the U.S. in the production of broilers (chickens grown for meat), peanuts and pecans USDA reports show. Georgia ranked second in the U.S. for the amount of cotton, cotton seed and watermelons grown. Georgia farmers grew the third largest quantity nationwide of cantaloupes and peaches in 2020.
Farm-City Week is a great time to discuss how the economy impacts farmers and consumers. When you look at the price of groceries, note that in 2020 farmers received an average of only 16 cents of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service. The rest of the dollar goes to wages and materials for food preparation, marketing, transportation and distribution, all of which have increased in price, too.