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GFB farm tour takes members, teachers to SW Georgia


By: Georgia Farm Bureau
6/14/2017 1:20:27 PM


More than 50 Georgia Farm Bureau members from around the state and a group of teachers sampled large-scale vegetable production Southwest Georgia style during the 2017 GFB Farm Tour, held June 6-8 with stops in the organization's 8th, 9th and 10th districts.

With stops in Turner, Decatur, Colquitt and Berrien counties, the tour group saw multiple you-pick farms and GFB Certified Farm Markets, as well as a massive pre-cooler that conditions corn as soon as it is harvested.

"I think the most important thing is it shows the diversity we have in the state, said GFB President Gerald Long, whose Decatur County You-Pick farm was featured on the tour. "We're one of the unusual states in the nation that we grow everything."

At Bob and Jim McLeod Farms in Wilcox County the group saw McLeods' cantaloupe production. The tour stopped in Turner County at Calhoun Produce for a look at the Calhouns' roadside market and agritourism stop.

Southern Grace Farms in Berrien County, run by Berrien County Farm Bureau Vice President Tim McMillan, showed off its retail store and cultivation of blackberries using moveable trellises.

The group visited Southern Valley Farms in Colquitt County, a commercial-scale vegetable farm that also has locations in Tennessee and Mexico.

"This was a vegetable tour that showed the importance of vegetable production to Georgia's ag economy and highlighted the importance of farmers having access to adequate water supplies to grow the vegetables consumers need." Long said.

At Green Circles Farm in Decatur County, the group saw how the farm's pre-cooler rapidly cools sweet corn just out of the field to prolong its shelf life. Long said that by the time the corn finishes the precooling process its temperature is 34 degrees Fahrenheit and it is ready to be stored to await shipping.

At Lauri Jo's in Colquitt County, the group learned about the company's canning operation, sales of jellies and salsas and how it has grown to nationwide distribution.

During the farm tour, the group was joined by a group of teachers touring with GFB Ag In the Classroom Coordinator Donna Rocker and GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda.

"A highlight of the tour, was having those teachers be with us and seeing the different things we saw, the interaction between the Farm Bureau members and the teachers," Long said.


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