Georgia’s dedicated and diligent farmers deserve all the credit for the state’s booming agriculture industry. Contributing close to $72.5 billion each year to the state’s economy, Georgia agriculture encompasses everything broilers, beef cattle and pecans to food processing and agricultural education programs.
The Peach State is home to 42,258 farms encompassing more than 9.5 million acres of land, each with an average size of 228 acres. But without the farmers and ranchers who work that land, committing their lives to agriculture, the state’s top industry wouldn’t be near as successful.
Take Skeeter McCorkle of McCorkle Nurseries in Dearing. McCorkle and his family have been growing and providing beautiful azaleas to the Augusta National golf tournament for the past 20 years. They grow more than 4 million plants annually for approximately 1,800 customers in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, while always paying close attention to producing high-quality products and practicing good land stewardship.
Kerry and Robin Dunaway of Greenway Farms of Georgia began farming in retirement after 25 years in law enforcement. They raise beef cattle and produce value- added products such as jams and jellies, pickles, and even skincare items at their farm in Roberta.
Ross Harding is a transplant from Australia who began one of this country’s first commercial ginger and turmeric farms in Savannah. He and his business partner produce value-added products with nutritious ginger, including ginger syrups, ginger ale, ginger cookies and more.
R.G. Lamar of Lamar Pecan Co. in Lowndes County is one of Georgia’s countless pecan farmers working to increase exports of the nutritious nuts, as the state produces some of the best in
These are just a few of the many hardworking Georgians who form the backbone of the state’s agriculture. In fact, one in every seven Georgians works in agriculture, forestry or a related industry. In the following pages, you’ll learn even more about the men and women who comprise Georgia’s important industry.
From April through July, more than 16,600 acres of Georgia farmland turns blue with the harvest of a high demand and healthy berry crop.
In 2014, Georgia grew 98 million pounds of blueberries, more than any other state in the nation. The value of the yield was estimated at nearly $110 million.
Georgia’s success with blueberries is thanks in part to the innovative research at the University of Georgia, which produced varieties that thrive in state’s soil and climate.
Sweet Vidalia onions from Georgia have been topping burgers and swimming in flavorful soups since the 1930s.
Unique to the Peach State, Vidalia onions are only grown in a 20-county area in southeastern Georgia. The onions are still hand planted and harvested, and make their appearance in grocery stores across the nation from late April through mid-September.
Vidalias serve Georgia’s economy well. In 2014, farmers harvested 258 million pounds of the onions with a production value of more than $108 million.
Learn more at vidaliaonion.org.
Fresh Off the Boat
Georgia shrimp harvest usually starts in late June, and both brown and white wild-caught shrimp can be found off Georgia’s coast. The latter usually makes up about 80 percent of the year’s harvest. In fact, “Georgia white” shrimp are considered some of the tastiest in the world and appear on menus not only in Georgia, but across the country.
Shelling Out Success
Georgia’s peanut industry is bringing jobs to Coffee County.
Earlier this year, Premium Peanut – a company based in Douglas that provides markets for peanut growers – announced plans to build a $50 million state-of-the-art shelling facility.
Premium Peanut plans to begin shelling about 110,000 tons for the 2015 peanut crop, with a three-year growth goal of 140,000 tons and a long-term plan to shell 200,000 tons annually.
Learn more about the new facility at premiumpeanutllc.com.