Farmers

David Goldman / Associated Press

Farmers in Georgia have been impacted by a multitude of events in the last few years: hurricanes, stalled aid, trade policy and, on top of that, drought. 

In September, the Southeast saw record heat — with little to no rain. Now, there is lots of rain in the forecast for the coming week. On Second Thought checked in with onion farmer Aries Haygood of A&M Farms in Lyons, Georgia, to hear about the issues impacting farmers.


Grant Blankenship/ GPB

Georgia farmers who have suffered economically from Hurricane Michael or other recent weather events can begin applying for a piece of $3 billion in federal aid.

The money from what is called the WHIP plus program was authorized by President Trump back in June and is available for farmers hurt by weather as far back as Tropical Storm Cindy in 2017.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Washington D.C. is a long way from White County, Georgia. Sometimes, that distance means the needs of constituents can get lost amid partisan squabbles on Capitol Hill.

During the summer recess, 9th District Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) went back to his roots – and his district – to hear firsthand what north Georgia farmers say Congress can do to make their lives better.


pexels.com

Georgia farmers are dealing with the news that China plans to end all imports of U.S. agriculture in response to higher tariffs.

This news comes after two years of rough conditions for the farming community, including Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Michael and stalled aid packages.

With farming ranked ninth among professions with high suicide rates by the CDC, recent research from the University of Georgia School of Social Work investigates how those stressors could affect a population already at risk.


Studies show farmers and agricultural workers are at elevated risk of suicide, and Georgia farmers have been especially hard hit by natural disasters and tariffs. 

Anna Scheyett, the dean of UGA’s School of Social Work, has been researching the problem. She visited On Second Thought to share her ideas to help.


On most residentially-zoned lots in American neighborhoods, it is illegal to build anything other than a single-family home. In Sandy Springs, 85% of the residential land allows for only detached, single-family homes. As Savannah updates its historic zoning laws for a modern world, residents of a newer city aren’t all ready for change.

On Second Thought explored the broader implications of the debate over ordinances in Sandy Springs with New York Times’ Writer Emily Badger and Evelyn Andrews of Reporter Newspapers.


Mitch Bulger / Pine Knoll Pecan Plantation

President Donald Trump has signed a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill aimed at helping communities across the country bounce back from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill has sailed through the House and headed to President Donald Trump for his expected signature, overcoming months of infighting, misjudgment and a feud between Trump and congressional Democrats.

Farmers caught up in the trade war recently got another bailout from Washington. Meanwhile, hurricane relief funds remain stalled in congress. We get an update on the outlook and mindset of Georgia farmers, and learn how they feel about being shuffled around the political game board.   

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, Georgia 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

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.

 

 

Georgia was once a leader in the oyster canning business, but the last cannery closed in the 1960s.

In the past few years, however, a group of people have helped revive the Georgia oyster — through farming. 

André Gallant, author of A High Low Tide: The Revival of a Southern Oysterjoined us with more on the past, present and future of Georgia's oyster industry.

Bryan Rackely, co-owner of Kimball House — a Decatur restaurant where Georgia oysters are now on the menu —  also joined the conversation about these briny bivalves. 


Public Domain

The latest data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture showed Georgia lost more than 1,500 small and mid-size farms over the past five years. But it’s not all bad news.


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. 

 


Rebecca Hammel / U.S. Senate Photographic Studio

Some Georgia farmers say they’re worried they’ll lose land that’s been in their families for generations after hurricanes and tariff hikes wiped out their crops and reserve cash.  Federal leaders promise to help, but farm loans are coming due, and disaster relief has yet to arrive.


Courtesy of AP Images

It takes about a decade to grow a productive pecan tree and a matter of minutes to take one down. A University of Georgia specialist estimates Hurricane Michael's 100 mph winds left 75 percent of pecan crops unharvestable in several south Georgia counties. UGA also estimates a total of $2 billion in losses to the state's agriculture industry.

Five months after the storm, many farmers are still picking up the pieces. "On Second Thought" has been following up with growers ever since the storm. Randy Hudson's family has run Hudson Pecan Company in Irwin County for more than 150 years. Rob Cohen owns Pecan Ridge Plantation in Decatur County. He's been in the family business for several decades. Cohen and Hudson gave updates on their crops as a new season begins.


MARTA

It's hard enough to eat well and stay in shape, but, in several parts of Georgia, residents don't even have access to nutritious foods. 

The Georgia Farmers Market Association is trying to bring awareness to the issue and help overcome barriers to access. Its initiatives connect small growers with communities that don't have good options to buy fresh, high-quality meat and produce. 


David Goldman / AP Photo/File

As people across the state continue to clean up from Sunday’s tornadoes, Georgia lawmakers continue to push for more federal disaster relief funding.


 

Georgia Pecan Commission

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media are reporting that the U.S. and China are closer to an agreement on trade. They're citing anonymous sources briefed on the matter.

The Trump administration waived its deadline for imposing additional tariffs on China last week, and talks over the weekend could mean a reduction in tariffs by both countries to pre-dispute levels. The news signals potential relief for many affected Georgia industries. Vivian Yue, associate professor of economics at Emory University, spoke with "On Second Thought" about these U.S. and China trade negotiations and what it could mean for the state's economy. Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Georgia, also joined the discussion.

 

Courtesy Trenton Tye/Facebook

Trenton Tye is one of few remaining blacksmiths in Georgia. Tye is also one of the judges on Discovery's "Master of Arms." When not on TV, he works in the peanut industry near Albany. Tye spoke with "On Second Thought" producer La'Raven Taylor about his daily tasks on the job. It's part of our series in which we learn all about what people do inside the industrial buildings, gleaming office towers, company trucks, vast farmlands and even homes that fuel the region's economy. 

If you have a unique job that you're passionate about sharing, email us at onsecondthought@gpb.org. 


On this Giving Tuesday, we learned about developments in climate change. The Trump administration recently released a major new report on climate change. The 1,600-page National Climate Assessment was published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a group of 13 federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA.

Michael Wall, director of farmer services for Georgia Organics, spoke with "On Second Thought" about what this report means for Georgia farmers and what some farmers are already doing to curb the effects of climate change. Kim Wall, a climate scientist and director of the Global Change Project at Georgia Tech, also spoke with us about the major takeaways from this report as well as efforts to fight climate change on Georgia's coast.  


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Gov. Nathan Deal called a special session of the Georgia legislature for Nov. 13 to address the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the governor's office said it needs to allocate around 100 million dollars to help with relief and support local governments.

 

We spoke with "Political Rewind" host Bill Nigut about political responses to Hurricane Michael as well as the gubernatorial debates between Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp and Ted Metz.

 


Georgia Department of Agriculture

Vice President Mike Pence visited on Tuesday parts of southwest Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael.  His trip comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's visit to the state on Monday. Pence spoke at the annual Sunbelt Ag Expo, an agriculture trade show in Moultrie.