Post-Trip, Lewis Taylor Farms

After reflecting on my recent spring break trip through GA Agriculture, I realize I have learned more about agriculture in this experiential learning setting than I ever would have in just a classroom. My favorite stop, however, would be Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, GA. I was surprised to see 350 million vegetable transplants and learn that the farm produces everything from kale to melons to zucchini. The most unique part of this farm to me was exploring the Produce Development Center (PDC) created to expose buyers and marketers from major retailers to the produce they could potentially purchase from this farm. The PDC costs $150,000/year to operate, but the business the farm receives in contracts from large grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, and Fresh Market offsets the cost. The farm is comprised of 6000 acres of produce and another 1000 acres of peanuts and cotton. About 75 acres of the farm is certified organic. What I found most surprising was that the owner of the farm candidly told us that he would personally rather eat conventional rather than organic produce from his own farm. Lewis Taylor Farms is a leader in the industry because they were the first to originate the H-2A Season Migrant Labor Visa, very important to the business of modern day agriculture. The tour finished with an emphasis on food safety led by the owner’s daughter who stressed the importance of HAACP knowledge and ensuring sanitary conditions from the farm to processing to the store. Simply put, Lewis Taylor Farms made me feel inspired to pursue a career in the food industry.

-Lizzy Isgar