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Abundant Rain 'Great News' For Georgia Farmers

Jun 23, 2017
Todd Stone / Associated Press

Georgia farmers are hoping this month's plentiful rains help bring a bountiful harvest.

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University of Georgia agricultural economist Pam Knox said growers are very pleased with the lower irrigation costs.

“This has been great news for the farmers, and it really saves them a lot of money with pumping because they don't have to pay for the diesel, or whatever they're using, to pump,” Knox said.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

President Donald Trump is directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revisit a regulation on clean water.

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The Obama-era rule, known both as the Clean Water Rule and "Waters of the United States," was intended to clarify what bodies of water are protected by the Clean Water Act: Big rivers are, but what about creeks that feed into them, or streams that go dry part of the year, or wetlands? The rule would have protected those too.

StoryCorps Atlanta

Brothers Paul and Hank Barnes – 87 and 95 years old respectively – grew up on a 1,000-acre farm in Warm Springs, Georgia that has been in their family since 1832.

Paul's grandson, Clifford, brought the brothers to the StoryCorps Atlanta booth to learn more about the workings of the family farm and what Christmas was like for them in this bygone era.

This story was recorded in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, which hosts Atlanta's StoryCorps Booth.

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John Bazemore / Associated Press

The hot, dry summer is turning into a warm, dry fall, and likely a dry winter too. It’s taking a toll on Georgia farmers, especially in the northwest corner of the state, where not enough hay grew and row crops didn’t do well, either.

Mark Schlueter

Beekeepers are still losing honey bees to colony collapse disorder. Though the crisis isn’t as bad as it was just a few years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s still bad enough that beekeepers are not able to recover what they’ve lost. So scientists are looking to use other kinds of bees to help pollinate crops. They have plenty to work with: there are more than 4,000 species of bees native to North America.

‘Bee Eden’

John Bazemore / Associated Press

 

North Georgia, including the metro Atlanta area, has been in a drought so long, it's officially a long-term drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday escalated the state from a short-term to a long-term drought.

A long-term drought means it has officially passed the six-month mark.

Georgia's Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black also owns a cattle farm in the city of Commerce in Jackson County. Black said he's praying for rain.

Courtesy of The Georgia Peach Council

There should be a 35 percent increase of Georgia peaches in 2016 compared to last year, according to the Georgia Peach Council.

When Georgia got some especially cold weather late last year, many peach growers got worried. But things improved at the start of 2016.

"You know what was once a concern, once we got in February really though that quickly dissipated," said Duke Lane, the president of the Georgia Peach Council.

tomatoes
UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences / Flickr.com/ugacommunications

It's the time of year when many Georgia farmers are looking for extra help to harvest crops.

But those farmers could lose thousands of dollars because they can't find enough workers, according to Jeffrey Harvey, the Georgia Farm Bureau legislative director.

“Farmers are losing money as we speak because we can't harvest the crops that they worked all year to produce, and it's simply because we don't have the labor to harvest,” Harvey said.  

Corey Leopold / flickr.com/cleopold73

Heavy rains during the last part of 2015 are causing problems with Georgia's pecan harvest.

Georgia produces the most pecans in the country, where an average crop weighs in around 100 million pounds.

But the recent wet weather made it tough for Georgia  farmers to get to the crops, which left the pecans in soggy conditions for an extended period of time.

That could reduce the crop's final yield by as much as 20 percent.

Worse yet, this may result in smaller crops in the future.

The Chattahoochee River passes under 285 in Sandy Springs. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tkennedy/509415441
Monika & Tim / flickr.com/tkennedy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to release a new rule regulating water. The agency says it clarifies how the Clean Water Act works, but some people in Georgia worry that it threatens private property rights.

California Drought Sows Interest In Georgia Pecans

May 1, 2015
Georgia will likely see a dip in pecan production this year.
Judy Baxter / flickr.com/judybaxter

With years of drought in California affecting much of the country’s nut crops, Georgia’s pecan growers could see a boon as some farmers look to other places – and other nuts – to grow.

Pecans won’t be replacing almonds or pistachios any time soon, but experts say there’s one nut that is easily swapped out: walnuts.

“The applications, particularly when you’re talking about baking, are very similar,” says Dan Zedan of Nature’s Finest Food, which specializes in marketing tree nuts.