Class 4 of the CORE Farmer Program spent the week in rural portions of South Georgia last week sharing ideas with perennial National Corn Yield Contest winner, Randy Dowdy. The participants received a unique perspective on water rights issues, as well, along the Apalachicola River, learning about a 30-year long water rights dispute between Florida, Georgia and Alabama over the long term health of two river basins that are slated to be argued in front the the US Supreme Court.
In southwest Georgia they witnessed the epitome of diversity, visiting a single producer with an eight-crop rotation of wheat, carrots, corn, potatoes, cotton, peanuts, sorghum and soybeans.
For the second half of the bus trip, they crossed back to the eastern side of the state to visit a family who exited the tobacco industry to venture into blueberry production and packaging. They wrapped up their trek in Savannah, touring the Port of Georgia – the largest single terminal port in North America and the fastest growing port in the country to learn more about how trade works and to gain a better appreciation of how global trade impacts the agriculture industry.
After visiting the port, they stopped in at Savannah Marine Terminal, a shipper that containerizes DDGs and soybean meal for export, mostly to the Philippines.
Here is what the participants had to say:
“While the CORE Farmer Program as a whole has been informational, this bus trip through Georgia brought a whole new set of ideas and issues to light,” said Alana Baker, of River Bend Farms in Cadiz. “It’s always enlightening to step outside your comfort zone to learn about new practices and question the way things have always been done, which was one of my biggest takeaways from Randy Dowdy. It was also fascinating to study the unintended effects of the water wars on the oyster industry in Apalachicola. I am grateful to the Kentucky Corn Growers for the opportunity to take this trip as a part of our program, which has made me a more well-rounded and open minded farmer.”
“The southeast agriculture tour with the CORE Famer Program was an intense
journey,” said Andrew Alford, of Alford Farms in Chalybeate. “Learning from other operations always opens doors but these farms really showed us the need to think outside of our norms. Apalachicola enlightened us to the intense battle water rights will bring in the future and our need to be proactive as stewards of the land. The CORE Farmer Program has been an exceptional two year program that has increased my agronomic knowledge and has allowed me to network with some of the best
young farmers in Kentucky.”