Georgia’s farmers grow the crops, livestock, and timber that feed, clothe, and shelter us. That’s why the Georgia Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations across the state will celebrate Georgia Ag Week March 20-24 and celebrate National Ag Day March 21st. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of National Ag Day, which is traditionally celebrated on or around the first day. from spring.
“Not only do farmers feed, clothe, and house us, but they also provide a habitat for wildlife on their farms while protecting soil and water resources by using environmentally sustainable methods to grow their crops and livestock,” said Ross Moon, president of the Madison County Farm Office. . “During Georgia Ag Week, I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on what their lives would be like if we didn’t have growers.”
Statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that farmers in Georgia play a huge role in feeding us. They are the largest producers of peanuts in the United States growing nearly half of the peanuts grown in our country, most of which are used to make peanut butter and snacks. Georgia farmers lead the nation in growing broilers, with chicken used to make our favorite chicken sandwiches, tenders and wings. In 2021, Georgia pecan farmers lead the United States in production of used pecans.
Georgia ranked second in watermelon production and third in blueberries, cantaloupe, and peaches, according to USDA data. The 2021 monetary value of the onion crop in Georgia ranked second in the United States while the sweet corn crop in Georgia ranked third.
Georgia farmers can also be thanked for growing cotton to clothe us and timber to house us, said the Farm Bureau leaders. Cotton growers in Georgia ranked second in the United States in 2021 in terms of the amount and monetary value of lint and seed produced. Georgia consistently ranks as the best forested state in the country.
Agriculture contributed $73.2 billion to Georgia’s economy in 2021, according to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED). The top 10 Georgia commodities for 2021 were: broiler chicken ($4.2 billion); cotton ($1 billion); Peanuts ($776.7 million); timber ($660.6 million); beef ($658.6 million); Greenhouse Nurseries ($635.9 million); Eggs ($635.1 million); Corn ($509.1 million); Pecans ($383.8 million); and berries ($348.7 million), UGA CAED reports.
Food and fiber production and the process of obtaining raw materials for consumers contributed to 340,827 jobs for Georgians in 2021, CAED reports. Agricultural occupations include crop and livestock research, engineering, precision agriculture specialists, software and information technology businesses, agribusiness management, marketing, food product development and safety, processing, retail, agricultural educators, banking, bioenergy, and field veterinarians. livestock and others.
Besides providing basic needs and driving Georgia’s economy, farmers also protect the environment. Farmers prevent soil erosion and water run-off by growing cover crops and using minimum tillage techniques such as no-till or strip tillage to grow their crops. These conservative tillage methods reduce the amount of fuel farmers use and sequester carbon in the soil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Farmers use about 50 percent less fertilizer to produce bushels of corn, wheat and soybeans than they did in 1980, the USDA reports. They are able to do this with GPS, sensors, field mapping software, and tractors equipped with precision ag technology that allow farmers to apply fertilizer and crop protectant to the crops they need most to grow a healthy crop.
Since most Georgians are several generations away from the farm, the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has prepared several videos that provide insight into Georgia farming. If you are interested in learning more about the crops and livestock grown in Georgia, visit https://gfb.ag/gaagvideo. If you would like to meet a strawberry farmer in Georgia, visit https://gfb.ag/strawberryfarmer.