Georgia’s 17th Commissioner of Agriculture, Tyler Harper, attracted a full room of local farmers, agriculture students, business leaders and elected officials as guest speaker at Carroll EMC's agribusiness seminar held Thursday, April 13.
The agribusiness seminar is a bi-annual event hosted by Carroll EMC each spring and fall. Designed to bring people together from all sectors of the agriculture community, the meeting offers a time of fellowship and networking followed by a presentation from a keynote speaker. Commissioner Harper, now entering his fourth month in office, addressed this year’s crowd with a plea to keep reminding the common citizen of how critical agriculture is.
“Agriculture impacts every Georgian, every single day,” said Commissioner Harper. “It is vital we tell that story and remind consumers of the role the industry and this department play in their daily lives.”
The Georgia Department of Agriculture, which is the oldest in the country, is most notable for its regulation and monitoring of food production, safety and security for producers and consumers at the statewide level, but it is also a key driver in national and global trade for a number of commodities. In mentioning the recent effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict on increased prices at the gas pump and in grocery stores, Commissioner Harper pressed for Georgians to know the policies of those they are electing to office and how those policies impact them.
“Agriculture is national security,” said Commissioner Harper. “When it comes to homeland defense, it’s important to have a strong military and energy policies, but it’s also important to have strong policies in the ag industry. We must ensure we’re producing food to provide for ourselves at home and not rely on someone else to do it for us.
“You have my commitment as your ag commissioner to fight for this industry and for Georgia producers when it comes to these issues,” he added. “When you have the right people in the right places, you can get the right things done every single day.”
Commissioner Harper concluded his speech by noting opportunities the department is heading including electric vehicles, which is a current interest of Carroll EMC and electric utilities across the state, as well as citrus produce. The scope of its functions is constantly evolving and continues to be an asset to rural communities the co-op serves.
“Georgia’s success is based on agriculture success,” said Commissioner Harper. “It’s our number one economic driver and the backbone of our economy. If agriculture isn’t successful, then our state can’t be successful. Together, we can continue to tell this story.”