Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Governor Perdue Launches Sixth Annual National Agriculture Awareness Week in Georgia

Governor Announces Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture and Flavor of Georgia Contest Winner

Today Governor Sonny Perdue and the Agriculture Advisory Commission launched the sixth annual National Agriculture Awareness Week in Georgia to recognize the contributions to agriculture and agribusiness. 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.

“Georgia’s agricultural community is innovative and resilient,” said Governor Perdue. “They will emerge from this challenging time stronger and more focused on providing great products, running efficient operations and utilizing cutting-edge technologies to bring food to the tables of Georgians and consumers around the world.”

Governor Perdue also announced today the 2009 winner of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture – Terry Chandler, Still Water Farm, Danielsville. The award honors farmers for good stewardship of all aspects of the environment in their farming practices.
The district stewardship winners include: Billy Max James, Cohutta Farms, Ellijay; Tom Bradbury, Bradbury Farms, Montrose; Will Harris, White Oak Pastures, Bluffton; and Clayton Wayne McKinnon, McKinnon Farms, Douglas.

The Governor also announced Flat Creek Lodge Dairy in Swainsboro as the overall winner of the 2009 Flavor of Georgia contest for their Aztec Cheddar. 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.

Category winners were: Buzzy’s Fine Foods, Savannah, BBQ and hot sauces; Cathy’s Sweets, Hazelhurst, confections; Appalachian Kitchens, Blairsville, jams, jellies, and sauces; Thompson Farms, Dixie, meats; Mitera Granola, Hahira, granola; and Vidalia Valley, Lyons, other foods.
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 features thriving 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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