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Giving thanks to farmers
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During this Thanksgiving season I believe everyone should be thankful for the hard work of the American farmer. Give thanks to the American farmer for growing most of the food we eat and many of the clothes we wear.


Too often we fail to realize the importance of agriculture not only on a national level but locally. It may be exciting to watch the growth of businesses along Ga. 400, but we should not forget that the total gross income for agriculture in Dawson County is more than $60 million annually.


Most of the gross income from agriculture in Dawson County is poultry, but local farmers produce corn, sheep, apples, pumpkins, cattle, turfgrass and the list goes on and on.


Dawson County is changing. Agriculture was, is, and will continue to be important to the community. Most people do not realize that nearly 20 percent of the county tax digest is directly tied to agriculture.


I respect farmers. Many think of the farmers as old men with overalls and straw hats, plowing behind a mule, or with an outdated tractor. This vision of the American farmer simply is not true.


Today’s farmer has to be a businessperson.


He or she has to have the knowledge to not only produce, but market. Today’s agriculture has changed to meet the demands of the consumer and for the farmer who was unwilling to change, they are no longer in business.


You could take a farmer who knew every phase of agriculture in the 1980s, if he or she did not stay abreast of the latest technology and research, they would be lost in today’s agricultural world.


The extension service, with extension agents in every county in the United States, works hard to provide unbiased research based knowledge so the American farmer can continue to be competitive in the world market.


The capital investment required to farm is unbelievable and the changes are greater than most people are willing to take. So, why do they continue to farm? 


It’s because farming is more than a job or career, it’s a way of life.


What does the future hold for agriculture and the American farmer? The American farmer will continue to change as agriculture changes to meet the demands of the consumer.


This is a challenge that will be met by the American farmer in the same manner that he has met the challenges of the past 200 years of our country.


The American farmer may at times be down, but never count him out. As long as people eat, the farmer will be in demand.


We need the farmer for food, and the farmer depends on the consumer for a market for his commodity. As Dawson County continues to change, it will be more important than ever to understand how building a better understanding of how agriculture and non-agriculture depend on one another will benefit all concerned. Give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy daily and don’t forget the American farmer.


Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.