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Friday, September 3, 2010 - 12:37pm

Agriculture Candidates Tout New Era

Food safety is a top priority of the three candidates for Agriculture Commissioner.

Libertarian Kevin Cherry, Democrat J.B. Powell, and Republican Gary Black each want to inherit the post held by Tommy Irvin for 40 years. The candidates met at a forum this week held by Georgia Organics. And they all want to get more Georgia-grown food … to Georgians.

Libertarian Kevin Cherry says it’s simple.

“We need more farmers markets, we need a farmers market in every urban area, we need a farmers market at every mall, we need a farmers market perhaps at every rest stop in the Interstate," Cherry says. "We need co-ops where farmers can co-operate and sell their products.”

Schools and prisons came up as built-in markets ready for local food. Republican Gary Black pledged to partner with the state schools superintendent on Farm-To-Schools programs. Democrat J.B. Powell said supporting local agriculture is also about shifting subsidies away from factory farms growing commodity crops.

"These USDA grants, they need to be allocated to the department of agriculture so we can use these funds to support locally grown foods being grown in our schools," Powell said.

This was the first forum held for the candidates for agriculture commissioner. The winner of November’s general election will need to deal with deep budget cuts to the department.


Rickey Bevington

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