By Bennett Musselman, AgriPOWER Class VIII participant

Diversity and opening our eyes to all the different hands in the agricultural community seems to be the theme in our AgriPOWER sessions. This session was no different. Our AgriPOWER class VIII has just recently returned from a trip to the south. We had the opportunity to link up with the Georgia Farm Bureau and visit various farms and agribusinesses along the path from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia. Our first stop was a very short trip from the Atlanta Airport, as in it probably took longer to get out of the Atlanta airport than it did to reach our first destination, Southern Bell Farm. Southern Bell farm has historically been a working dairy farm founded in 1938. As urban sprawl crept closer and closer to the Carter Family Farm, they had to look for alternative methods of agriculture and production. Today, Southern Bell Farm is well known for educating 40,000 students from the city of Atlanta about farming practices, annually.

After driving by an abundance of pine trees, everywhere, on both sides of the road, pine trees…… we had the opportunity to meet with a representative of the Georgia Forestry Association. Forestry, particular pine trees, is a large percentage of Georgia’s agricultural makeup. There is approximately 24.3 million acres in forestry production in the red clay soils of Georgia. Pine trees are not the only tree Georgia is known for, though. pruningNext up was the oldest peach packing house in Georgia, Dickey Farms. Dickey Farms has approximately 1,000 acres of peach trees currently in production. We were able to visit the orchards as they are currently pruning the trees in preparation for this year’s crop. As the growing season progresses, they will have to touch each tree, by hand, approximately 8 times from pruning to picking.

Our next farm tour was set up to see production of Vidalia Onions. Some 400 acres of the sweet onions were currently in the ground. Interesting note, the Georgia Department of Agriculture has naming rights to “Vidalia Onions”  and are very strict on who may use the name. Vidalia Onions are only allowed to be grown in 13 whole counties and 7 partial counties in Georgia, furthermore they are only Vidalia Onions if they are shipped during a specified time set by the Georgia Agriculture Commissioner.

As we neared the port of Savannah, we had the opportunity to visit Southern States Cotton Gin. They walked us through the ginning process from start to finish. When complete, Cotton is shipped out in 500 lb. bales to the warehouse. cotton-portraitThere they sit and wait to be made into clothing. Each 500 lb. bale will yield 200 pairs of blue jeans or 400 t-shirts. Our next stop was Ogeechee Buying Point where they purchase peanuts from farmers. The peanuts that come to this facility will be dried on the wagons, cleaned, then loaded on containers to be exported. Which leads us to our final stop, Georgia Port Authority. The Savannah port is the 3rd busiest container port in the U.S. The port sits on 1,200 acres along the river where they will load and unload some 40,000 containers on boats each day. The State of Georgia exports a majority of their poultry production through the port as well as other agricultural commodities.

Farm Bureau is an incredible organization that has given me countless professional development opportunities in addition to advocating for all sizes and types of farmers.
Shana Angel's avatar
Shana Angel

Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau

If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington, D.C.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.
Eric Bernstein 's avatar
Eric Bernstein

Wyandot County Farm Bureau

Future employees, leaders
If you have issues with local planning or have legal questions, someone at the Farm Bureau has the answer for you, or they’ll connect you with someone who does.
Gayle Hansen's avatar
Gayle Hansen

Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau

Hansen's Greenhouse
As a member of Farm Bureau, I am glad that this organization takes action when necessary to protect and advance agriculture.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Policy Development
We go to a lot of Farm Bureau events, and there’s a lot of camaraderie built because you’re meeting with people who have similar interests and goals.
Andy Hollenback's avatar
Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

Event Calendar
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