Agriculture

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Phillip Tutt talks about okra and collards with his neighbors. He’s lived in the same home on Macon, Georgia’s Bowden Street for close to 50 years. Most of that time he’s had a garden.

“Now for my turnips and things like that I don’t want to plant them before Labor Day,” he said. “But if I can get them in on Labor Day I’ll be happy. But collards I believe I set them out in August if I’m not mistaken.”

Over the years the rows of vegetables in his garden have thrived while the neighborhood around them has withered. There was a time when he would walk next door to share his peppers with neighbors and return with a basket of tomatoes.

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.

 

 

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Chicken is the most popular meat in America. And Georgia is the top chicken producer in the nation. Joining us is author, Maryn McKenna. Her book “Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats,” explores the role antibiotics play in transforming our food. 

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.

Despite a bad growing season, there were peaches for sale recently at a small stand at the Mulberry Farmer's Market in Macon, Ga. The fruit caught the eye of Linda Marlow, visiting from the West Coast.

"We're from California so we want Georgia peaches," Marlow said with a laugh.

California, by the way, produces more peaches than other state in the country. It isn't like this is a novelty for Marlow.

"Well yeah, but we expect they are going to be better here," Marlow said.

Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture.

The vote was 87-11. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" and presided over the vote.

Sonny Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several agriculture companies. He is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

NPR's Geoff Bennett reports for our Newscast unit:

At the public library in the rural Morgan County town of Brush, Colo., Marissa Velazquez welcomes her students to class. It's a sunny Saturday morning, and the day marks the halfway point in Velazquez's class, a 10-week crash course on American history, civics and English.

Nearly all of the students work in either meatpacking or dairying. Everyone in it has the same goal: become an American citizen. In two hours, Velazquez runs through voting rights, the legislative process and some grammar tips.

Pop quiz: When do we celebrate the venerable American holiday of Flag Day?

Grant Blankenship / GPB

What are you going to do when you grow up? We ask our kids that all the time.

To answer that, first you have to know what jobs are even out there. That’s why students in Cherilyn Keily’s class at Bonaire Middle School have been raising chickens.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

A high priority for President Donald Trump is getting his cabinet nominees approved by the U.S. Senate. Late last week, he named his one remaining choice: former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his nominee for agriculture secretary, according to a transition official and a source close to the process.

This is the last open Cabinet position, although Trump has yet to name a Council of Economic Advisors chair, which is a Cabinet-level position.

The process of selecting an agriculture secretary turned into a marathon, as Trump interviewed many candidates.

Perdue was a favorite among major farmers' groups and leaders in the Republican establishment.

It took years of heated debate, but the federal government has finally decided just how much living space an organic chicken should have.

It's part of a new set of rules that cover many aspects of animal welfare in the organic food industry. But the biggest impact of the rule will be felt in the organic egg industry.

Stefano Brega / flickr

Pigs are a huge part of Georgia’s economy. They can also cause a lot of problems. A University of Georgia report last year says feral swine caused nearly $99 million in crop damage and $51 million in non-crop damage in 2014. But that doesn’t mean we should hate these animals.

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.

Peanut Harvest Hurt By Hot, Dry Summer

Oct 20, 2016

Rodney Dawson stood in his peanut field off of Route One-Twelve in Hawkinsville. In a normal year, the vines would be knee-high and the foliage would fully cover the dirt.  But Dawson says this year is not normal. In fact, it’s one of the worst in his 30-plus years of growing peanuts.

“Right here we see distressed plants,” said Rodney Dawson, who is also a board member for the Georgia Peanut Commission. “There (is) a lot of yellow tint to them, where they should be lush and green.”

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.

maryleilalofts.com

Developments are underway to renovate a 19th century cotton mill into a craft brewery and loft apartments in Greensboro, Georgia. But 11 years ago, developer Nathan McGarity made a surprising discovery in the mill’s rafters. He discovered a trove of old letters and pictures that revealed a little known piece of US history. 

We speak with Nathan and Steven Brown, archivist emeritus at the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, about what they found

Nancy Heaslip / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

As natural predators of insects, bats are extremely important to agriculture. Researchers estimate their value to farmers in the United States is roughly $23 billion per year. But these are tough times for bats.

Guest host Adam Ragusea revisits a conversation about white nose syndrome, the deadly fungal disease that has rapidly reduced Georgia's bat population. We discuss the effects on the state's vulnerable agriculture industry.

 

Then, we add to our ever-growing, essential Georgia Playlist with help from singer Chandra Currelley. This weekend, she will perform at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Agriculture continues to be a heavyweight industry in Georgia, contributing over $75 billion to the state’s economy. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black wants to double down on that success with Georgia Grown. The branded logo is associated with producers, sellers, manufacturers, and any Georgia business that wants to further align itself with the Peach State. We sit down with Black to talk about Georgia’s perception around the world as an agricultural player.

georgiagrown.com

Agriculture continues to be a heavyweight industry in Georgia, contributing over $75 billion to the state’s economy. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black wants to double down on that success with Georgia Grown. The branded logo is associated with producers, sellers, manufacturers, and any Georgia business that wants to further align itself with the Peach State.

Flickr

For more than a hundred years, Georgia has claimed the peach as its own. The fruit adorns our license plates, our street names and earns money for our state. But what makes the peach such a Southern success? Its sweet taste, of course, but also its fuzzy skin according to Kennesaw State University Professor Thomas Okie. His theory about peach skin – also known as peach pubescence – is featured in the forthcoming book, “The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South.” 

Save The Bats, Save The Agriculture

Mar 9, 2016
commons.wikipedia.org

Bats may give us some of us the creeps, but their usefulness in the field of agriculture is undeniable. Bats can save farmers billions by merely eating their fill of crop insects. But the dangerous fungus known as "white-nose syndrome" continues to infect caves and kill bats, with some estimates saying that nearly 95 percent of the population is in danger.

We talk to Georgia State University microbiologist Chris Cornelison and wildlife pathologist Heather Fenton about the severity of the fungus and what’s being done to combat it.