TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - South Georgia farm consultants are responding to the proposed state agriculture budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year.
"The economy is always rough for farmers, and whether it’s on a state, national or local level or even a global level. But, with the cuts that we’re looking at, the proposed cuts that we’re looking at in the state budget, it could be very impactful in several ways,” said Rhonda Shannon, the senior marketing specialist with AgGeorgia Farm Credit.
Shannon said the proposed budget cuts to Georgia’s agriculture industry would be very hurtful.
“With the food sources and the safety of our food being so important, it would be detrimental all over the spectrum if the cuts do go through. Hopefully, we can keep our fingers crossed and that will not be what happens. It’s going to be hard to determine between now and the end of the physical year what needs to be done,” said Shannon.
Shannon said the proposed cuts will also impact young leaders in agriculture as well.
“But it would be very detrimental even with some of the other programs through the Georgia Department of Ag. And, what effects our young people, which is going to be the future of agriculture,” said Shannon.
Shannon said she believes the agriculture industry would survive if the proposed budget cuts are passed but would not be where it could be.
“Agriculture has always been resilient. They’ve had to be, depending on whatever is thrown their way, they’ve had to kind of back up and punt, and rethink, go to plan B, C or D. But I do think that with the research that, of course, is so important here in Tifton, with having the research facilities that we have and with the extension, how they are very supportive of our producers. All facets. I think it would be something the farmers can survive. But I think they would have a void of what would be able to help them be profitable,” said Shannon.
Shannon said farmers have a lot of occupations all in one.
“You know, you don’t see farmers in overalls anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but a lot of times they’re stereotyped that way. And, they have to be accountants, they have to be veterinarians, they have to be technologically-savvy with the GPS systems, even calibrating sprayers, having their planters in place. They have to be a lot of different things,” explained Shannon.
She said agriculture is one of the most essential businesses in the state.
“Agriculture provides for us. About everything that we have to have to sustain life every day except the air that we breathe, we have the food, we have the clothing, the shelter subsistence that we need for just surviving,” said Shannon.