Farm-City Week Celebrates Agriculture
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Did you know the average grocery store stocks more than 30,000 items? If you’re thankful for all of the items in your grocery store, then Georgia Farm Bureau encourages you to join the organization in celebrating National Farm-City Week, Nov. 18-24.
Farm-City Week celebrates the cooperative relationship between farmers and their urban colleagues who help produce, prepare, transport, market and retail the food farmers grow for the American consumer. This year marks the 56th anniversary of the annual celebration.
Kiwanis International began National Farm-City Week in 1955 to increase the understanding of the partnership between urban and rural residents. Farm days at schools, farm tours, banquets and mayoral proclamations are just a few of the observances that will be held in communities across the country to mark this annual event. County Farm Bureaus across the state are holding a variety of Farm-City Week events in November to increase consumers’ awareness of agriculture.
“We’re blessed in our country to be able to go to our local grocery stores and find a wide variety of food that has been grown following the safest quality standards in the world, but the food at the local grocery doesn’t just magically appear on the shelves,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Georgia farmers work all year to produce chicken, peanuts, beef, milk, pecans, blueberries, peaches, watermelon and vegetables for us to eat. Then, employees of agribusinesses work to prepare, market and transport the food to stores for consumers. It takes all of us to feed and clothe America and this partnership is what we’re celebrating with Farm-City Week.”
According to the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED), food and fiber production and related businesses represent the largest or second largest segment of all goods and services produced in nearly two-thirds of Georgia’s counties.
Food and fiber production and directly related processing directly and indirectly generated a total economic impact of $68.8 billion for Georgia and represented more than 383,000 jobs in 2009, according to the UGA CAED. One in seven Georgians works in agriculture, forestry or a job related to food or fiber production, and almost half of the state’s manufacturing jobs are in agribusiness.
Georgia farmers led the nation in producing broilers, peanuts and pecans last year, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics show. Georgia farmers ranked second in the nation for production of cotton, onions and blueberries and third in production of cucumbers, cantaloupes, sweet corn and watermelons. In 2010, the top 10 commodities grown in Georgia based on cash receipts were broilers, vegetables and melons, cotton, eggs, peanuts, greenhouse nursery products, cattle, dairy products, pecans and corn for grain.
In addition to helping our state economy, Georgia agriculture also contributes to our nation having a positive agriculture trade balance. Last year, $115.8 billion worth of American agricultural products were exported around the globe including 3 million tons of poultry meats, for which Georgia ranked first in the nation for exporting $468.7 million of poultry products. The U.S. also exported $5.7 billion worth of cotton, for which Georgia ranked second in the nation for exporting cotton and linters worth $572.5 million. Georgia ranked first in the nation for exports of peanuts and peanut products worth $154.6 million.
Farm-City Week is a great time to discuss how the economy is impacting farmers and consumers. Although farmers have received higher prices for their crops in the past year, they are also experiencing record-high production costs. According to UGA economists, variable operating costs for Georgia farmers have increased from 2010 by the following amounts for each crop: cotton 19 percent, corn 20 percent, soybeans 23 percent, wheat 26 percent and peanuts 29 percent. Production costs have increased from last year due to higher fuel, seed, fertilizer and irrigation costs, the economists say.
USDA statistics show farmers receive only 16 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest of the food cost covers the expenses of wages and materials for food preparation, marketing, transportation and distribution, all of which have increased in price recently.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year and list the things for which you’re thankful, consider adding the farmers and urban agribusiness employees who helped get the food you will eat this holiday season to your table.
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors.
Georgia Farm Bureau