farming

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Last week, Mexico became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Canada is expected to follow suit in short course.

In The United States, however, not all American lawmakers are convinced the USMCA would be a better deal than the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Democrats have threatened to block it, and a few key Republicans are withholding support unless the administration makes some concessions on tariffs.


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.

 

 

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.


Courtesy National Association of Farm Broadcasting

As 2019 begins, a true Georgia personality is embarking on a new journey: retirement. Everett Griner, 92, began his broadcasting career in 1948 and spent decades as a farm reporter and producer for Southeast AgNet. Griner recently retired on the farm and joined "On Second Thought" on the line from Moultrie, Georgia. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Tucked away in a corner of the Pine Knoll Pecan Grove near the town of Pretoria is one of those things that Mitch Bulger says made the decades he spent living and working  here worth it.  

"I promise you,” he told me. “Stick your finger in that. It’s the coldest water.”


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This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a new program to help farmers in the wake of a potential trade war with China.


Sean Powers / On Second Thought

After Thanksgiving dinner, you might still have leftovers that end up in the trash. Food waste is a big problem in landfills. The Atlanta-based group Compostwheels is trying to reuse a lot of that material by collecting it from homes and businesses, and turning it into "black gold," or as most of us know it, compost. GPB’s Sean Powers followed a Compostwheels delivery to learn how we all can play a larger role in urban agriculture.

 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

Dependable sources of labor and a fresh look at international trade topped the wish list of farmers and other stakeholders when they met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Friday.

Perdue held a roundtable discussion in Tifton in his role as the head of President Trump’s Task Force on Rural Prosperity. It was the first such roundtable in the South.

“We’re here from the federal government and we’re here not to hurt you,” Perdue joked.

Emily Blincoe / flickr

The Georgia Peach might well be the most iconic symbol of Georgia, but this year’s crop is suffering with losses in the range of 80 percent after a late spring freeze. It turns out the peach started out as a rarity, and is not native to our agricultural climate. We revisited a conversation with Kennesaw State University professor Tom Okie, entomologist Dan Horton, and Georgia peach farmer Al Pearson.

Alix Blair

For many veterans returning from war, it can be difficult to adjust to civilian life. A new documentary premiering on PBS on Memorial Day tells the story of one veteran who has suffered emotionally and physically from war, only to return home as a farmer where he’s trying to find peace. The film previously ran at the Macon Film Festival last summer. 

At first glance, food policy seems to be an afterthought in the Trump administration. The campaign saw few debates about food or farming. And the president-elect hasn't yet nominated someone to head the Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

More than half a million veterans wait at least a month for appointments at the VA. That's 70,000 more veterans than last year, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As GPB's Sean Powers reports, there's a new push in Georgia to improve veteran care by helping them connect with their roots on the farm.