georgia agriculture

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.


Public Domain

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.

 

 

Georgia Department of Agriculture

While many Americans scanned websites and superstore aisles for deals on Black Friday, and others recovered from Thanksgiving food comas, the Trump administration 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. The news inside that report is not good for a number of Georgia industries, including agriculture. 


Mitch Bulger / Pine Knoll Pecan Plantation

Gov. Nathan Deal called a special legislative session starting Nov. 13 to discuss relief efforts for Hurricane Michael damage. Farmers in southwest Georgia were hit especially hard. Ricky Dollison, from Dollison Farms in Worth County, said he lost thirty pigs in one night and is still working to salvage swine.

He and farmer Casey Cox, from Longleaf Ridge in Mitchell County, joined "On Second Thought" to discuss their hopes for the special legislative session. They also shared how reconstruction efforts on their farms are going a month out from the hurricane.


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."