Valdosta Daily Times

November 14, 2012

Valdosta-Lowndes: An agricultural heartland

Staff Writer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — When the Valdosta Daily Times and its sister newspapers in Tifton, Thomasville, Cordele, Americus and Moultrie decided to launch an agriculture magazine in January 2011 to be distributed across South Georgia, it was unknown how it would be received.

Well, the first couple of issues were quarterly, and then due to overwhelming response and requests, it is now a bi-monthly publication going into its third year.

While Valdosta may not consider itself an agriculture community, we sometimes forget just how much acreage and economic benefit derives from the ag and forestry industries locally. With a farmgate value of $70 million and more than two thirds of our entire county taxable digest in agriculture and forestry use, Lowndes County remains dependent on this economic sector almost as much as the surrounding counties, which we consider far more rural than ours.

When you factor in businesses such as South Georgia Pecan, PCA, the Langdale Company, Shiloh Farms, Dupont, Arizona Chemical, ERCO Worldwide, Coggins Farms, Carter and Sons, and the additional farmers represented by Farmer Browns, the impact of agriculture in Lowndes County alone is one of the largest private, non-governmental industries. Across the region, ag and forestry sustain the economies of a number of counties.

The Times has stated it before and it bears repeating — agriculture and forestry are the industries which built the local economy and are its mainstays when other industries are down. Why not build on this segment and attract business and industry to the county and to the region which are complementary to this essential economic component?

South Georgia will not be the next Silicon Valley, but it already is the fruit, vegetable and timber basket for the Southeast. Let’s not overlook this key area as we look to diversify our industries for the