Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Governor Perdue Launches Fifth Annual National Agriculture Awareness Week in Georgia

Today Governor Sonny Perdue and the Agriculture Advisory Commission launched the fifth annual National Agriculture Awareness Week in Georgia to recognize the contributions of agriculture and agribusiness in the state. A celebration held today at the Georgia Freight Depot featured approximately 60 agriculture commodities and organizations throughout Georgia displaying food products and related information. Guests attending today’s event included state legislators, FFA, 4-H, Young Farmers, Commodity Queens and other agriculture related organizations.

“Our agriculture community is made up of hard-working individuals who embrace technology and innovation,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “They are helping Georgia’s agriculture community move forward – understanding agritourism as a great way to add value to our farms, growing a bio-based economy, promoting innovation and technology in agriculture.”
Governor Perdue also announced today the 2008 winner of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture – Danny Hogan, Hogan Farm in Dexter, Georgia. The purpose of the award is to honor farmers for good stewardship of all aspects of the environment in their farming practices.

Hogan Farms is a 950 acre family farm owned by Danny Hogan and his partner and son, Richard. The Hogan family has continually farmed the land for more than 40 years. The farm grows wheat, oats, peanuts, cotton and soybeans. Hogan Farms also manages pasture and timber, raises Black Angus, Limousine and Belgian Blue Cows and quarter and paint horses for show and sell. Hogan Farms has remained successful for four generations because of its commitment to conservation. They use conservation tillage to grow their crops, use chicken litter to fertilize them, maintain manure storage facilities, and participate in environmental quality, wildlife habitat, forestland enhancement and other conservation programs. They plan to continue to find ways to conserve water, while finding new and better ways to protect the streams and wetlands that flow through their land.

The district stewardship winners include: Bud Butcher, Bud Butcher Family Dairy Farm in Senoia; Ted Hughes, Chantilly Farm, Inc. in Comer; Danny Hogan, Hogan Farm in Dexter; Martin (Marty) McLendon, McLendon Acres Inc. in Leary; and Jeffery L. Deen, Jeff Deen Farm in Baxley.

The Governor also announced, White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, the winner of the 2008 Flavor of Georgia contest for their White Oak Grass Fed Beef Ribeye. The contest focuses on the Agricultural Advisory Commission’s goal of entrepreneurship and rural development by showcasing the diversity of Georgia’s agriculture and food processors. Over 160 new food products were entered into the contest.

The Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Commission brings together members of various sectors within the agricultural community to act as a sounding board for economic development ideas and to implement the Governor's agriculture strategies and initiatives. The commission is divided into four subcommittees – economic development and retention, education, environmental and agriculture awareness.

Agriculture is Georgia’s oldest and largest industry, and it remains a leading source of jobs and income. Georgia has one of the nation’s most vital and diversified farm economies, leading the country in the production of poultry, pecans, peanuts, eggs and forestry products. The state is also taking the lead in converting agricultural produce to ethanol and biodiesel. Georgia consistently ranks as a top producer of watermelons, rye, peaches, sweet potatoes and cotton and is home to the world famous Vidalia onion.

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