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Thankful for farmers
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As you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, please be thankful for the American farmer.

Give thanks to the American farmer for growing most of the food we eat and material for many of the clothes we wear.

Too often we fail to realize the importance of agriculture not only on a national level, but locally.

With the growth of businesses along Ga. 400, many may be surprised to learn that the total gross income for agriculture in Dawson County is more than $60 million annually.

Most of the agricultural income in Dawson County is poultry, but local farmers produce corn, horses, bedding plants, pumpkins, cattle, turfgrass and the list goes on and on.

Dawson County is changing, however, agriculture was, is and will continue to be important to our community. Most people do not realize that a high percentage of Dthe county's tax digest is directly tied to agriculture.

I respect farmers.

Today's farmer has to be a business person. 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.

A farmer who knew every phase of agriculture in the 1980's, but did not stay abreast of the latest technology and research would be lost in today's agricultural world.

The extension service, with personnel 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 chances 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 wonderful way of life to raise a family.

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 challenge will be met by the American farmer in the same manner he won the challenges of the past. 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, building a bridge of understanding between our agricultural and non-agricultural community will be even more important.

Times are hard, however, as Americans we have so much to be thankful for. Please include our farmers on your list of blessings this Thanksgiving.

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