This week, Georgians throughout the state are celebrating the first annual Agriculture Awareness Week, a tradition that surely will continue for many years to come.
It is a time to give thanks to the farmers and producers across the Peach State for the hard work they do in providing the abundant food and fiber that sustains each and every one of us and for the great care they take in being excellent stewards of the land.
Georgia agriculture is responsible for over eight percent of the statewide economy, making it the largest single economy in the state, employing more than 400,000 people.
And while agriculture is of prime importance to the state’s economy, Georgia is one of the most prolific producers in the nation, ranking No. 1 nationally for blueberry, pecan, peanut, and broiler chicken production, not mention the long list of crops we rank second and third in.
Agriculture Awareness Week has been structured not only to celebrate this rich industry but also to educate folks on the many aspects of industry and how it touches our everyday lives.
One such effort is the Farm to School program, which facilitates the use of locally grown foods in the schools of Georgia.
The program has enjoyed increased support since it’s initiation in 2007 reaching at least 53 school districts.
It seeks not only to provide the best foods to our children, but also to educate youth on nutrition and agriculture through school gardens, on-site farm tours, taste tests, and more.
Our own Effingham County Farm to School program is certainly one to be proud of, as it was recognized by the state in the 2015-2016 school year as one the premier programs of it’s kind.
As part of the week-long celebration, Monday was coined “Ag Hero Day”.
Our Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black put it well when he said “Farmers are often the true unsung heroes in our society. The hard work they put into the field, every day and every season, is what allows us to have the most affordable, abundant and safest food on our plates.”
So, for goodness sake, reach out and give a pat on the back of the farmers in your life.