Climate Change

Georgia Farmers Use Climate Change to their Advantage

The Pitch

What is climate change?

Climate Change is long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns that is cause of man-made use of fossil fuels. Since the industrial period, massive amounts of fossil fuels have been burned that is causing deterioration in the Earth's ozone layer.


The Story

The Draft

Headline: Georgia Farmers Uses Climate Change to Their Advantage

Byline: Melanie Velasquez

Lede: Georgia farmers are testing the boundaries in agribusiness in planting citrus trees, blueberries and other crops in response to warmer weather. Climate change has created numerous obstacles for farmers that has caused them to adapt and adopt new tactics.

Nutgraf: Georgia’s agriculture has an enormous contribution to the economy of Georgia. According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development, Agriculture contributes approximately $69.4 billion annually to Georgia's economy. Climate change in Georgia has become an expensive concern that has caused farmers to lose crops and purchase more or new equipment to compensate. Nonetheless, some farmers are attempting to use climate change to their benefit to gain profit.

Georgia has been a hub of agricultural ventures since the colony was conceived. In the 18th century, the state of Georgia’s main commodities were cotton and tobacco. Fast forward to the 21st century and the main commodities are broilers and cotton which make up 30.1% of the agribusiness bringing in approximately 3.7 billion dollars in revenue.

In Georgia, there is 9.9 million acres of farmland with each. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, in 2019, Georgia there were 42,000 individual farms with more than $9.5 billion worth of agricultural products being sold.

Nevertheless, climate change has been extremely hard on farmers, especially ones that are farming blueberries which only made a major appearance as a top ten commodity in Georgia until 2014. Data
(Data sourced from University of Georgia’s Agribusiness and Economic Development)

In an interview with Pam Knox, Senior Public Service Associate and director of the UGA Weather Network and agricultural climatologist, she said, “One of the problems that we have seen is that as the winters have gotten warmer the plants don’t get enough chill hours cause the blueberry plants, peaches and other fruit bearing plants require a certain amount of cold weather”. The lack of chill hours causes the blooms to either not come at all or in scattered times which makes it difficult for farmers to get crops in when they are getting ripe at different times.

“As we have had warmer winters, sometimes we have had enough chill hours for the plants to be ready to bloom but it is so warm that they bloom early and the chance of the frost getting to them increases and we have seen that several times in the last 5 years,” said Knox.

In speaking with Jason Wallace, associate professor in quantitative genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and crop microbiomes, he stated that things are becoming less predictable.

However, farmers like Joe Franklin, founder and CEO of Franklin’s Citrus Farm, have come to workaround the warmer weather by planting citrus species that can withandle the colder temperatures in Georgia versus Florida but flourish during mild winters that Georgia has been having.

[Interview with Joe Franklin March 6th]

In speaking with blueberry farmers from Alma, Georgia, known as the blueberry capital of Georgia.

[Waiting for extension agent to get back to me about farmer]

Georgia is the number one producer of peanuts in the United States and with droughts, have caused concerns regarding the promise in keeping the number one spot. In speaking with Cristiane Pilon, Assistant Professor in row crop physiology and specializing in peanut crop and production she stated [waiting for her to get back about interview]

[Conclusion will go here once all the interviews have been completed]

People having an interview

The Production

To be cont...


+1 (770) 490-7425