Farm-City Week celebrates the partnership between farmers and their urban colleagues who help prepare, transport, market and retail the food and fiber farmers grow for America’s consumers. This year marks the 57th 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 activities that will be held in communities across the country to mark this annual event.
“Food, clothes and lumber don’t appear in stores without teamwork, ” said Mike Bunn, Walker County Farm Bureau president. “In addition to the farmers who grow the commodities, it takes commodity brokers, food processors, food safety inspectors, cotton ginners, loggers, researchers, truck drivers, retail clerks, marketers and many more to get our food and fiber from the field to the store. This partnership is what we’re celebrating during Farm-City Week.”
According to the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED), Georgia’s food and fiber system consists of industries involved in agricultural and forestry production, production support services, food and fiber processing, production inputs, food retail and wholesale and food services. Georgia’s food and fiber sector had sales of $107 billion in 2010, ranking it first among the state’s economic sectors. The 688,586 employees in Georgia’s food and fiber sector is more than any other sector in the state economy. More than one in seven Georgians were employed within the food and fiber system in 2010.
Georgia farmers lead the nation in producing broilers, peanuts and pecans, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics show. Georgia farmers also produce a majority of the cotton, eggs, fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S.
The top 10 commodities grown in Georgia were broilers, cotton, eggs, timber, peanuts, beef, horses, dairy, greenhouse horticulture products and pecans, according to the 2010 Georgia Farm Gate report compiled by the CAED. Although no vegetable made the top 10 commodity list, the farm gate value of all vegetables grown by Georgia farmers was almost $753 million, making vegetables one of the top four commodity groups that contributed to all Georgia commodities having a total farm gate value of $12 billion. Poultry/eggs, row/forage crops and livestock/aquaculture were the top three commodity groups.
Georgia farm and timber owners also provide environmental benefits to the state by preserving natural habitats for native plants and wildlife. Georgia contains the largest area of forestland in the south with 24.8 million acres, accounting for 67 percent of the state’s land area, according to a 2011 report just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
As you prepare your Thanksgiving meal this year and think about the things for which you’re grateful, 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. If you would like more information about agriculture, please visit gfb.org.