Decatur County- Decatur County's leading industry is agriculture. Last year, farmers grossed 241.7 million dollars. That's why they've got a vested interest in the new 2007 Farm Bill. The community gathered Thursday to give thanks for agriculture and to discuss how the new farm bill will affect south Georgia with representatives who will help craft the new bill.
A drought plus rainfall at harvest time equals a challenging year for south Georgia farmers. Decatur County Ag man of the year Kim Rentz hopes the 2007 Farm Bill will have the same safety nets as the current bill.
"It makes it more important when you have a challenging year like that and one of the biggest challenges this year also has been expenses have been through the roof with the increased energy costs," said Kim Rentz.
High energy costs and conservation are expected to be addressed in the new bill. South Georgia farmers say they'd also like to see more money for cotton and peanut crops.
"The commodity programs are very important to southwest Georgia and the farmers here and that's what we'd like to see maintained as much as possible," said Rentz.
"Obviously Senator Chambliss being the ranking member on the Agriculture committee beginning in January will be fighting hard for Georgia interest and making sure that cotton and peanuts and other commodities that have a stake in the farm bill are looked after," said Steven Meeks, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss State Director.
While Chambliss won't chair the committee, he'll still have an important stake in writing the new bill.
"Obviously there'll be a stake for everyone in this farm bill. There are other commodities that are thinking maybe they want to be added in and have some policy as well," said Meeks.
Farmers like Rentz realize the safety net that the current Farm Bill provides offers farmers stability, something they hope continues to keep them producing crops in south Georgia's fields.
Chambliss has held hearings in Decatur County and across the country over the last year talking to farmers about what's needed in the new Farm Bill.