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Ext. Agent Grant: Appreciation in a tough year for ag

In A Sand County Almanac Aldo Leopold shares his sentiment that “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”

The “farm,” whether physical or metaphorical, is the source of food/fiber and hence life. Agriculture ties many aspects of our lives together: nutrition, tradition, and family.

Agriculture is the backbone to Georgia’s economy: $73.3 billion of the state’s $972 billion in output value in 2016 came from the production of commodities such as chickens, beef, cotton, timber, pecans and the list goes on.

While humbly holding this responsibility, many producers who run our local farms have had a tough year in 2018. Starting with tighter restrictions on some herbicides, tariffs on cotton and pecans, devastating weather and uncertainties in a new Farm Bill leading into 2019 it has been difficult to “weather the storm.” Nevertheless, I’ve seen this slogan in multiple places which exemplifies a reality many are facing: “Georgia farmers are weathered but not broken.”

Our farmers will pull through. The intention written here is not to put anyone on a golden pedestal, I understand that farmers understand it’s a business. This article is to call attention to the importance of our producers, their struggles and to thank them for all they do. Regardless of anything, the farmers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with are some of the most down to earth and kind folk I know.

It is true that Georgia’s agricultural industry took a $2.5 billion hit from Hurricane Michael alone. Each farmer was affected differently but many now have their livelihood at risk. Through it all, producers have been patient and worked diligently through the proper channels (FSA, NRCS, Extension, etc.) to obtain assistance.

With all that said, the Crisp Co Extension team and I want to be available to assist as much as possible. It would be a spiritual danger to all if the farm were to cease to exist.

As of now, the Crisp County annual production meetings have been scheduled, a PSA training booked at the Extension office for Jan 4th and worker protection standard training materials are being organized for 2019. GATE card and pesticide applicator license information can be obtained through our office as well.

Wishing y’all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Joshua Grant is the agriculture and natural resources extension agent for Crisp County.