Growing Conditions

The release of the quinquennial Census of Agriculture provides a picture of farming in Georgia.

Georgia farms are fewer in number but rising in value and productivity while the state Agriculture Department aims to root them in resilience. Georgia exports are at record levels, and the world will come to Atlanta for eight soccer games in 2026.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper (right) works on his farm in Ocilla. (Credit: Douglas Coulter)

Counting Our Chickens

The average Georgia farm is worth more than $1 million after years of consolidation have left the state with fewer, bigger farms. In releasing the data from its 2022 Census of Agriculture on Feb. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that the 39,264 farms in Georgia averaged just over 253 acres with a value for land and buildings of $1.081 million, or $4,270 per acre. The USDA conducts its census every five years. A record 920 farms covered at least 2,000 acres, while 15,853 were smaller than 50 acres. The number of farms declined by about 3,000 from 2017 and more than 10,000 from 2002, when the average 218-acre farm was worth $457,427.

Some other highlights:

  • Families or individuals owned 32,831 farms, down from 36,233 in 2017.
  • The value of agricultural products sold in 2022 was $13.2 billion, up 38.3 percent from 2017.
  • The average age of farm producers rose from 57.9 in 2017 to 59.0 in 2022.
  • Among the more than 68,000 Georgia farm producers were 996 Hispanics, 229 Native Americans, and 55 Pacific Islanders.
  • After a downturn left Georgia with 3,353 orchards covering 139,111 acres in 2012, the state now has 4,253 orchards across 200,332 acres.
  • Poultry farms sold 1.3 billion chickens for meat, as well as 9.7 million quail, 59,060 pheasants, 16,305 ducks, 7,238 turkeys, and 330 geese. The one Hungarian partridge and three emu farms didn’t report any sales.

Find 130 tables of statewide and county data here.

Boosting Food Growers

The Georgia and U.S. agriculture departments are cooperating on a $7.1 million grant program for the state’s farmers and the institutions and infrastructure supporting them.

Announced Feb. 15, the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure grant program focuses on fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and farmed fish but excludes meat, poultry, wild seafood, animal feed, and items such as tobacco and dietary supplements.

The state is taking applications through March 29 for equipment grants of $10,000 to $100,000 and infrastructure grants of $100,000 to $3 million. Details are here.

Celebrating the announcement of the 2024 Georgia Grown executive chefs are (from left) Georgia Grown’s Olivia Rader, Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper, Jared Hucks, Thomas Jacobs, Jason Vullo, Lauren Bolden, Stuart Rogers, Ashley Keyes, Georgia Restaurant Association President Stephanie Fischer, and GRA board chair Justin Triplett. (Credit: Brandon Amato)

Cooking From Farm to Table

The Georgia Restaurant Association and Georgia Department of Agriculture named the 15th annual class of Georgia Grown executive chefs Feb. 21.

Recognized for their commitment to using and promoting Georgia farm products in restaurants are Lauren Bolden of Pie Bar in Woodstock and Marietta, Jared Hucks of The Alden in Chamblee, Thomas Jacobs of NorthPointe Hospitality in Sugar Hill, Ashley Keyes of the Center Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully in Atlanta, Stuart Rogers of Your 3rd Spot in Atlanta, and Jason Vullo of Community Brew and Tap in Cornelia.

The chefs are scheduled to provide demonstrations at the Georgia Food + Wine Festival in Marietta from March 22 to 24.

Shipping a Record

Georgia exported goods worth $49.7 billion in 2023, topping the previous year’s record of $47 billion, the state Economic Development Department announced on Feb. 14.

Georgia ranked 12th among states in exports and seventh in total trade at $186 billion, though that amount was $10 billion less than in 2022.

The top five exports are: civilian aircraft; motor vehicles; turbojets, turboprops, and gas turbines; poultry; and chemical wood pulp, which fell from third to fifth.

The top five destinations for Georgia goods were unchanged from 2022, including Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, and Singapore. China and Mexico remained the top two bilateral trade partners for Georgia, but South Korea moved up from fifth to third as total trade rose by $2.7 billion.

Revving Back Up

Georgia’s lull in automotive projects ended Feb. 6 with the announcement that Doowon Group will open a $30 million plant in Metter with 200 jobs to make air-conditioning systems for electric and gasoline-powered vehicles beginning in 2026.

In choosing Metter, about 45 miles west of the Hyundai Metaplant America, Doowon joins fellow South Korean supplier DAS, which plans to invest $35 million and hire 300 people to make vehicle seats there.

Meanwhile, on March 7 Rivian will unveil its midsize R2 sport-utility vehicle, to be built at its $5 billion plant in Social Circle.

Shining a Light on Manufacturers

Resia, which builds and manages apartment complexes, announced Feb. 2 that it is opening a $25 million facility with 150 workers in Fairburn to manufacture prefabricated components for modular housing units.

In Cedartown, Solarcycle plans to spend $344 million on the first U.S. facility using recycled solar panels to produce glass for new solar panels. The plant, due to open in 2026, will have more than 600 employees.

Less than a week before its Feb. 15 announcement, Solarcycle revealed a partnership to recycle panels made by Qcells, whose facilities in Dalton and Cartersville could be customers for the new glass.

Kicking It with the World Cup

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host eight matches during the 2026 World Cup: group stage games June 15, 18, 21, 24, and 27; a Round of 32 game July 1; a Round of 16 game July 7; and a semifinal match July 15.

Group stage matchups for the 48-nation tournament will be announced in December 2025.

Big Bites, Slow Building

  • Stuckey’s CEO Stephanie Stuckey is launching UnStuck, her memoir about rebuilding her family company, April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. The event is free; the books will be offered for sale.
  • Tyler Perry told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Feb. 22 that he is halting an $800 million expansion of his Atlanta studio complex because of advances in AI-generated video.
  • The Savannah Convention Center’s $276 million, 361,000-square-foot expansion won’t be finished in May as planned, and the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission doesn’t know when it will be done.