Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor meets with farmers in Bulloch County

Published: Oct. 24, 2023 at 10:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2023 at 11:24 PM EDT
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones was in Bulloch County Tuesday to meet with local farmers about the threats the agricultural community is currently facing.

There are two things that are certain in Georgia right now, agriculture and developmental growth. They don’t quite go hand and hand, and that’s what farmers are concerned about.

Welcome to rural Georgia where accents are thick and generational love for farming is thicker.

“A farmer will never boast and he does not brag but these men right here drive this county, they were raised by a generation that drove this county and we are raising a generation that will continue to drive this county and will not forsake it,” said Bulloch County commissioner Toby Conner.

Bulloch County’s rich history of family farming has given it its southern charm, but with new developments on the horizon, farmers are fearful for their future in farming.

“I don’t think anyone from Bulloch County was pushing for the Hyundai Plant, but now the effects of it on us. We are dealing with that now.”

Farmers find themselves fighting for employees against corporations with money that smaller operations can not compete with.

“I can’t pay them what… I can’t pay them $32 an hour.”

Staffing is only the beginning of threats that Bulloch County farmers fear.

Things like irrigation issues...

‘In June, July and August, if we are irrigating six or seven days a week and it doesn’t rain, everyone of those days you have the potential to pump 16 million gallons of that river.”

And the selling of farmland...

“And even if not every plot of plan that I rent, is not all in one place, it is scattered throughout the county. It happens every year, it is happening to a field right beside ours, a developers come in a buy a plot of land that is separated by fields.”

Bulloch County farmers know change is coming but they need to know how to adapt while still staying strong in their roots.

“We don’t know what direction to go, but we just know we have got to go in a direction, and we need help,” said Conner.

The Lieutenant Governor says that community conversations like this one are necessary so that they can listen, learn, and take back what they heard to the state level.