While growing up, we’re taught to mind our Ps and Qs. When it comes to Georgia agriculture, it’s all about the Ps – poultry, peanuts, pecans, peaches, and people. As the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture show, Georgia continued to lead the nation in poultry, peanut, and pecan production and ranked third in peaches.
According to 2017 Census of Agriculture, poultry, at $5.48 billion, was Georgia’s leading commodity and accounted for 57 percent of Georgia’s total market value of products sold. During 2017, Georgia producers raised 1.38 billion broilers, 16 percent of the U.S. total, with nearly all of them raised under a production contract. Additionally, Georgia also sold 15 million layers.
In 2017, Georgia peanut producers harvested 827, 627 acres of peanuts and produced a record high 3.58 billion pounds of peanuts, half of the U.S. total peanut production.
Georgia also led the nation in pecan production with 161,401 acres of bearing and nonbearing trees, 29 percent of the U.S. total, according to 2017 Census of Agriculture. Note: In late 2018, Georgia pecan groves were heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael resulting in a 35 percent decline in production from 2017. With many damaged and downed trees, it will take Georgia pecan orchards years to fully recover.
Although Georgia is known as the peach state, Georgia ranks third when it comes to peach acreage. While production was down substantially in 2017 due to early blooming followed by several days of freezing temperatures, the 2017 Census of Agriculture recorded 11,877 acres of peaches in Georgia, placing it behind California and South Carolina.
According to 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 68,087 farm operators with an average age of 57.9 years old. Thirty-four percent of these operators were women. In Georgia, 8,835 operators also reported having served in the military. The census data also showed that there were 13,091 new and beginning farmers in Georgia who have been farming for five years or less.
Without the support of these farm operators, the multitude of data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture would not be possible. So minding our Ps and Qs, please accept our thank you to all the farm operators who responded to the census.