The federal government is awarding $18 million in nationwide grants to get more young people into farming. In Georgia, two organizations will spend that money to boost—and create—new programs. The USDA says the average age of a farmer is 57 years old. And to keep the food pipeline sustainable, the nation needs more young people to get into the business.
The U.S. Agriculture Department’s crop planting forecast projects Georgia’s producers will plant 1.45 million acres of cotton this year, an increase of 9 percent and 120,000 addition acres. Georgia’s cotton crop forecast is second only to Texas, where farmers will plant 6 million acres of cotton, according to the USDA report.
School cafeterias would have to hold the fries and serve kids more whole grains, fruits and vegetables under the government's plans for the first major nutritional overhaul of students' meals in 15 years.
Every county in Georgia could qualify for disaster assistance from the federal government. The designation comes on the heels of several very warm, dry months. Farm operators throughout the state are eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, and help from the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program.
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.