Georgia farmers' contributions highlighted in Ag Week
Georgia’s state seal includes the phrase “Agriculture and Commerce.” For large portions of the state, agriculture is commerce.
Agriculture contributed $76 billion to Georgia’s economy in 2018, according to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED). The center says food and fiber production and the process of getting the raw materials to consumers contributed 399,200 jobs for Georgians in 2018.
Georgia farmers grow almost half the peanuts grown in the United States and lead the nation in growing chickens. Georgia farmers are among the top U.S. growers of blueberries, pecans and sweet onions. We can also thank Georgia farmers for growing cotton and timber to clothe and house us.
To celebrate farmers and the many contributions they make to our state, the Georgia Department of Agriculture declared March 23-27 as Georgia Ag Week. This week is also National Ag Week and National Ag Day was March 24.
“Today’s Georgia farmers are proud to continue our state’s long-standing position as an economic powerhouse,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said. “Please join us this week in saluting our farmers, who drive Georgia’s biggest economic engine and continue to search for new ways to meet the needs of their fellow citizens.”
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, over the last decade, all U.S. agricultural GHG emissions have only contributed an average of 9% of the total GHG in the U.S. Beef cattle contribute only 2% of agriculture’s total 9%, dairy cattle less than 1% and swine less than 0.3%.
The week-long celebration continues with these themed days: March 25 – Ag Hero Day; March 26 – Ag Literacy Day; March 27- Make My Plate Georgia Grown Day. Visit www.gfb.ag/agweek20 for more information.
County Farm Bureaus and agricultural organizations held 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.