[Atlanta, GA/John Holcomb – Reporting]
It’s a word that you hear all the time these days: climate change, and no matter your beliefs
or stance on the topic, discussions are happening on it. That was the case in Atlanta recently as the
Georgia Climate Project hosted a conference to discuss Georgia’s future in regard to climate
change. Everything from electric cars to water was
discussed, including agriculture. [Daniel Rochberg/Chief Strategy Officer of
Climate, Emory] When you think about climate change in Georgia,
there’s a lot of issues there, but only a few really rise to the top. Our coasts for sure, what happens with our
energy for sure, but agriculture and forestry are way at the top of that list because these
are really important industries to the state and we know that these are industries that
are really sensitive to changes in climate and weather and we’ve seen that in small and
really large ways over the past couple years and over the past decade. So, it’s really important for ag to have a
seat at the table, not only a seat at the table, but a voice leading the conversation
to talk about what this means for Georgia’s really big industries and what we can do about
it. [John]
One of those voices is Casey Cox, a farmer down in southwest Georgia that is a huge advocate
for the Ag industry and was happy to speak at the conference. [Casey Cox/Longleaf Ridge Farm]
One of my concerns is we’re hearing a lot about this topic all over the country and
there’s a lot of ideas that people have when it comes to agriculture and forestry and how
that interplays with climate and the solutions. Very rarely are farmers actually at the table
in those conversations and so when I had this opportunity, I felt like it was really important
to bring the voice of a farmer to this group of people. [John]
There are several misconceptions due in large part because of separation from the ag world,
but Casey made a point to make sure people understand that farmers and agriculture are
at the forefront of climate change which comes in the form of efficiency and conservation. [Casey Cox]
On our farm and really across most farms in South Georgia, we’ve had the opportunity to
implement new practices, new technologies and new varieties of the crops that we grow
that help us produce more with less. That is really a huge part of the solution. So much has changed even from my dad’s generation
to my generation with what’s available and I really feel like in the future we’re only
going to have more options and more efficiency. We really are looking for those practices
that not only increase our conservation value, but also increase our efficiency because that
has a direct impact on our bottom line. So, if we can find these practices that do
both, that’s really a win, win situation for farmers. And we know that and that’s why farmers have
chosen to implement so many best management practices, and conservation practices, and
new technologies because it’s beneficial all around. [John]
One of the biggest things Casey wanted to get across at the conference was the importance
of rural Georgia and the ag industry and how important they are when it comes to discussing
climate change. [Casey Cox]
According to the US Census Bureau, twenty percent of people live in rural populations. So that covers about ninety-seven percent
of our country’s landmass and the majority of our food production and our energy production
across the country is in rural communities. We’re really a huge part of this and we’re
living this day to day and so we absolutely have to be part of the conversation. We are part of the solution. I firmly believe that. [John]
Reporting in Atlanta for the Farm Monitor, I’m John Holcomb.