Planters, growers, heroes: Georgia Ag Week salutes farmers
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They sow crop seeds and raise animals. They care for both as they grow. In doing so, Georgia’s farmers ensure that the rest of us have what we need not only to live, but to thrive. It is not a stretch to view them as heroes, though it’s unlikely you’ll find one wearing a cape.
Georgia farmers produce more chickens, peanuts and pecans than any other state. Georgia is second among U.S. states in production of cotton lint, cotton seed and watermelons. The state is third in cantaloupe and peach production and fourth in blueberry production.
All told, Georgia’s farmers and ranchers produced more than $12.2 billion worth of agricultural commodities in 2020, according to the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. Agriculture had an economic impact of $69.4 billion on the state’s economy while providing 352,430 jobs.
To celebrate farmers and the many contributions they make to our state, the Georgia Department of Agriculture has declared March 21-25 as Georgia Ag Week. This week is also National Ag Week and National Ag Day is March 22.
“Agriculture has played a major role in Georgia’s progress throughout state history, and we’re proud to maintain that legacy of feeding our fellow Georgians,” said Derek Pridgen CoffeeCounty Farm Bureau president. “We’re also proud that we do it the right way, working to protect natural resources and caring for our animals to keep them healthy to ensure that farms can continue to prosper into the future. When Georgia farmers succeed, all of Georgia benefits.”
Georgia Farm Bureau is providing a video on a specific theme for each day during Ag Week, and supplementary classroom activities will be available for teachers to download. To sign up to receive these materials, visit www.gfb.ag/agweek2022 .
On Hands-On Garden Day, March 21, the video will feature a UGA Extension Agent will demonstrate planting zucchini.
On Buy Georgia Grown Day, March 22, the video will feature a chef preparing a no-bake recipe and discuss nutrition.
The video for March 23, Ag Hero Day, will introduce students to a farmer and provide information about planting.
On Ag Literacy Day, March 24, a librarian will read the American Farm Bureau Foundation Book of the Year, “How to Grow a Monster,” by Kiki Thorpe.
On March 25, the video will feature beekeepers and a discussion about the importance of pollinators for Georgia fruit and vegetable production.
County Farm Bureaus and agricultural organizations hold events in their local communities as schedules allow throughout the month of March to raise awareness of agriculture. Agriculture celebrations are observed in March to coincide with the planting of spring crops.
From 2012 to 2017, U.S. farmers increased the number of acres on which they practice sustainable soil use and conservation efforts by 34 million acres. This includes planting more cover crops, using no-till and minimum tillage planting methods to conserve soil, preserve/increase soil nutrients and improve water quality. These practices also trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture contributed 10% of the U.S.’ overall GHG emissions in 2018, the lowest percentage of the five major economic sectors.
Georgia Farm Bureau is the largest general farm organization in the state. It represents farmers and rural communities and connects consumers with agriculture. GFB also offers its members a wide variety of benefits, including insurance, travel and auto discounts. Enrollment in any of the member benefits is optional and not a requirement for membership.
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