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Carter in new leadership role

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent
 

  Jake Carter of Southern Belle Farm in McDonough is getting a unique opportunity to influence agriculture on a national scale.

Jake Carter, of Southern Belle Farm in McDonough, has recently been named to serve a one-year term as chairman of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.                       Special photo

  He was recently named to serve a one-year term as chairman of the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, a group of 16 appointees from all over the country. He previously served as a committee member before becoming chairman.

  “I will have the opportunity to go all over the United States, talking about agriculture and encouraging young farmers and ranchers to share their stories, and connecting what they do with consumers so they will be more educated about what we do,” he said.

  One challenge of the job is helping people recognize the many types of businesses that are categorized under the term “farm” or “ranch.”

  “What we do is mostly agtourism, where we show the consumers firsthand where their food comes from, but there is a wide range across the country,” said Carter. “There are grain farmers, fruit farmers, cattle farmers – some of whom do many different things on a big scale. It is really neat to be able to see and share in their successes.”

  His selection for this position shows that his own operation has gotten some recognition nationwide. Southern Belle Farm has become a popular destination for families and schools groups and has been featured in USA Today among other media outlets.

  “I think people are realizing the need to communicate about agriculture with consumers,” said Carter, who followed up that statement with a statistic that reflects his knowledge of the industry as a whole.

  “Only two percent of the American population is involved with farming; the rest of the country is not. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about agriculture because most consumers are coming from an urban environment like we live in.”

  Carter has lived his entire life in Henry County, growing up during a time when much of it was still rural and fueling his dream to farm like his father and grandfather did before him.

  “It’s kind of in my blood. But with urban sprawl coming across our community, I almost didn’t have the opportunity to live that dream,” he said.

  “When we were able to open up our farm and share it with the community, we started getting a lot of questions about agriculture, what we used to do. I saw that as an opportunity. We are still able to grow crops, and sharing it with the public is just a neat opportunity that we enjoy.”

  His involvement beyond his family’s property began in earnest about six years ago when he was the young farmer chair of the Henry County Farm Bureau. He went on to chair the Georgia Farm Bureau and has already served a year on the national board.

  Carter’s schedule has already seen a significant impact. He has travelled to Kansas, Virginia and even to Canada in the past three weeks, speaking and listening to his contemporaries across the continent.

  “[Southern Belle Farm] is certainly my number-one priority, but this is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “It is only for one year and the farm is in good hands, so I wanted to take advantage of it.”

 

 

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