Adventures in Agriculture Mar 21, 2016 Ever wondered how much work goes into growing that food you eat, that plant you enjoying looking at, or that grass you love to run your feet through? Well, I knew that it took a lot of work before anything related to agriculture actually made it to me, but touring some of Georgia’s agricultural businesses really opened my eyes to how much is actually done behind the scenes. So much work is put into making sure that we have safe, yummy food to eat and pretty plants to enjoy, and to top it all off, the University of Georgia even has a big hand in helping out these businesses that provide goods for us. I learned so many new things about Georgia agriculture that I didn’t know before. Do you ever drive down the road and wonder what those big metal machines with many wheels are? Well those are center-pivot irrigation systems. They provide water to the crops below without an actual person having to go out and water. There are also drip irrigation systems that water the plants from below and help to save water. Another cool thing about GA agriculture is that a lot of the companies and farms are working with the UGA extension offices to do research and gain education about their products. Who knew that we had 157 county extension offices in our state? There is almost one in every county. All of that work is done through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences here at UGA. Many things surprised me on this trip. The most surprising thing was the lack of labor in the agricultural sector. Because the average American may be looking for more permanent or less labor-intensive work, many farms have turn to migrant workers to do their tasks. The government provides assistance in this via the H-2A program where companies can apply for visas and workers from other countries. While this program is nice in that the farms get workers, it is also requires a lot of work on the farmer’s side because they have to provide housing, transportation, and many other things. Another surprising aspect is the availability of jobs in almost any area of agriculture. I am a food science major, and my eyes were definitely opened to all of the opportunities for me to work in places that I didn’t even think about. At Lewis Taylor Farms, Mr. Bill Brim had two full time food safety workers. It never even crossed my mind that I could be working at an actual farm instead of in a factory or processing facility. That’s the great thing about agriculture though, there is a place for everybody. Whether you’re interested in business, education, research, labor, or anything really, you can find a place in agriculture. I had done some exploring on the Griffin Campus of UGA prior to going on this trip, but I found it very insightful to be able to actually visit the campus and see how it relates to our campus in Athens. Getting to meet Dr. Kealey and get to see what types of things they are doing to progress our knowledge of food and safety was really cool. It’s cool to think that both the Griffin and Tifton campuses were originally research stations for the university, and now they are still being used for research but also for education. If you have any interest in agriculture whatsoever, I would highly recommend this trip. It really opened my eyes to all of the opportunities available in agriculture and all of the job possibilities. So, when your trying to decide what to do next spring break, opt for the GA Ag Tour because why would you want to spend your week anywhere else than with some cute cows! Am I right?! Seriously, it will be one trip that you won’t regret!