cotton

Kimberly Vardeman / Wikimedia Commons

From the devastation of Hurricane Michael to trade tariffs, Georgia farmers have faced months of uncertainty. After stalled disaster and tariff aid packages, American farmers are still struggling while being shuffled around the political gameboard. 

 

Mark Peele is a cotton grower and president of the South Central Georgia Gin Company. He joined On Second Thought on the line from Berrien County to talk about the outlook — and mindset — of Georgia farmers. Jeffrey Harvey, director of the Georgia Farm Bureau's Public Policy Department, also joined the conversation from GPB's studio in Macon.

 

 

Kimberly Vardeman / Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday marks six months since Hurricane Michael blew through parts of south Georgia. With planting season just a few weeks away, Georgia cotton growers are keeping an eye on the weather. 

 


Georgia Department of Agriculture

Georgia's agriculture industry suffered devastation at the hands of Hurricane Michael. Pecan trees were toppled, chicken houses destroyed, and seemingly all farmers in southwest Georgia are working to recover. Cotton was no exception. More than a million acres were planted this year before Michael hit. 

 

Today on the show, we surveyed the state to discuss issues of educational policy, in addition to farming after Hurricane Michael.

GPB reporter Grant Blankenship spoke about about gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp's visions for Georgia's education system. We also spoke with farmers, comissioners, and representatives from the Georgia Farm Bureau about the devastating loss of crops in southeast and southwest Georgia due to hurricane damage.

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Hurricane Michael swept across south Georgia last week, devastating the state's pecan orchards, cotton plants, chicken coops and peanut crops. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Brock Long said Monday the true cost of the devastation won't be clear for some time. Irwin County pecan grower Randy Hudson and Berrien County cotton grower Mark Peele told "On Second Thought" they expect it could take generations for Georgia farmers to recoup their losses — if ever.

"You can't walk away, but then I'm sitting here with such a dead load," said Hudson, a fifth-generation pecan farmer. "How do I repay this now? How do I start over?"


Georgia Department of Agriculture

President Donald Trump was in Georgia Monday to survey the damage from Hurricane Michael. The storm killed at least 19 people. Michael also ravaged Georgia's agriculture industry, splitting decades — and even centuries — old pecan trees down the middle and stripping cotton plants across thousands of acres in South Georgia.

 

"We lead the nation in pecan production, peanut production, forest products production ... in cotton and vegetables, but, unfortunately, today, we lead in destruction," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black told "On Second Thought."


Georgia Pecan Commission

It could take years for some of Georgia's pecan crops to recover after Hurricane Michael tore through the southwest part of the state on Wednesday.  

Tim Brown is with Apollo Pecan Nursery and Groves in Preston, Ga., about halfway between Columbus and Albany. 

He says many of their trees are younger, which means they were more flexible in withstanding high winds and heavy rains. But other nurseries in the area weren't as lucky. 

Kimberly Vardeman / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia's cotton farmers could receive payments of up to $40,000 each to help cover production costs this ginning season.

That’s because of a $300 million U.S. Department of Agriculture program launched this week aimed at sustaining and expanding the U.S. cotton market.