Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Agriculture: Georgia's No 1 Economic Industry & who will lead the Department after Tommy Irvin retires in 2010?

Agriculture remains Georgia's largest industry, generating more than $5.1 billion per year in cash receipts to the state's economy. Despite all the changes in society, farming remains the foundation of the state's economic well-being.

One of out of seven Georgians works in agriculture. forestry or related sector.
Agriculture contributes more than $57 billion, or about 16% annually to Georgia's $350 billion economic output.
More than 65% of Georgia is in forestland, it is a $19.7 billion per year industry.
Georgia top ten commodities in order of rank are broilers, cotton, forestry, peanuts, beef, dairy, hatching layers, horses, greenhouse & container nurseries.
Georgia ranks first in U.S. in production of peanuts, pecans, rye, eggs & broilers.
Georgia produecs almost half of the peanuts produces in the U.S each year.
Georgia is the leading Kaolin Clay producing state in the U.S. & leader of marble, barite, bauxite products * leads the nation in broilers and value of egg production.
So with that being said, our long-time Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin will be Stepping down in 2010. He was first elected in 1969 to the post. Who will replace Irvin? There are two announced republicans who will try, Gary Black, who ran against Irvin in 2006 & the president of Ga. Agribusiness Council & Darwin Black, who is a former USDA Official. That is the republican side.
But what about the democratic side? The name of Terry Coleman, who is the Deputy Agriculture Commissioner to Irvin. He served 34 yrs in the Legislature & two yrs as House Speaker. He would be the obvious choice to run for AG Commissioner. But some Democrats & myself are wondering will he do it. Ther were early rumors that he won't run because he thinks he can't beat Gary Black in the General Election. I find that hard to believe that Colemen would say something like that, & that he may run for State Insurance, but with Mary Squires locking up the majority of the endorsements from democrats in the house & senate, that's highly unlikely, but you never know. Then I've heard the name of Rand Knight, you know the 2008 candidate who ran for the Senate back in 2008. He would be an interesting candidate. One of the problems facing Georgia Farmers & the Ag Industry is thedevelopment of young farners to take the place of retiring farmers. There are alot of famrs that have gone down because of the lack of Younf farmers coming thru the pipe line to keep Georgia Agriculture at it peak. At 37 yrs old, he would appeal to the young up & coming farmers & offer a vision for the next generation of young farmers.
If Coleman doesn't run or if Knight doesn't run, then where does that leave democrats? Here are some people to think about: Oscar Garrison, Assistant Commissioner-Consumer Protection Division, Dr. James Sutton, Assistant Commisisoner-Plant Industry Commisisoner, or if you want to talk about legislators, State Reps. Elis Black (D-Valdosta), Mike Cheokas (D-Americus), Lynmore James (D-Montezuma)& former State Senator Michael Mayer von Bremen (D-Albany), who served on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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