On the way to a training event last week in Statesboro, I had the opportunity to observe numerous cotton fields. White bolls puffed out with no rain in the forecast suggested harvest would not be far off.
Indeed, less than a mile later, I passed the first of a handful of fields that had been picked. I could see where the module had been set in the field, and the module of cotton already had been loaded and taken to the gin. On the return trip, I queued behind a string of traffic slowing to make it around a module maker being pulled by a tractor to the next field to be harvested.
It’s that time again: Farm equipment likely will be on the roads moving from field to field. Tractor trailers will be coming out of fields after loading cotton modules for transport to the gin. It’s time for my annual reminder about who owns the road. Yes, it’s the farm equipment. The reason roads were built in the first place was to facilitate moving farm products to rail heads, processing and markets. The product moving from the farm to market is what initially paid for and continues to pay for the roads. Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry by dollar value, and it employs more people in this state than any other. Remove the taxes paid by farm production, and you will be surprised at how much your tax bill will have to go up to make up the difference.
So instead of getting impatient and raising your blood pressure, try guessing the use of that farm equipment, or try listing with the kids all the things that are made with the raw product you see. Can you recognize the various crops as they grow in the fields? What do you think a farmer’s life is like?
Luke Bryan’s latest release, “Tailgates and Tanlines,” includes some seriously good country music mixed in with the love songs. Every time I listen to his song “Harvest Time,” I have to think Luke was driving past Page Farms in north Bryan County and saw Shaun Page out there bustin’ his butt to get the crops in.
Luke has painted images with few but powerful words that capture the essence of autumn harvest in America’s heartland. Shaun, his father and grandfather could well be the archetypes for the American farmer. We all know Luke Bryan’s name, but it’s the farmers like Shaun who are out there trusting in faith, taking the risks that come with farming, raising their families and building their communities who Luke sings about — you know, the everyday heroes who make the world run.
Calling all pesticide applicators with commercial licenses! UGA is holding a one-day training seminar Nov. 14 at Coastal Botanical Gardens (Bamboo Farm) that will earn you five — count ‘em, five — hours of recertification credit in any pesticide license category. Yes, any pesticide-applicator category except aerial. Can’t find aquatic hours? We’ve got ‘em. Yes, even mosquito control. Cost is $55. You can sign up online at www.ugagriffincontinuinged.com. This is the chance you have been waiting for, so take advantage of this opportunity.
Gardner is the UGA extension agent for Glynn County, serving South Bryan.