Fitzgerald Agriculture

 

The Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County area has a strong and very diverse agricultural sector which coexists with a rapidly growing surbanesque population.

Argriculture utilizes 34% of the land area in our county. The 57,000 (less timber acreage) acres of farm land produce a multitude of agricultural products. There are 195 farms with an average size of 295 acres. The average age of farmers is 51.9 years.

 

Agriculture's impact stretches far beyond the economy. Farmers are also stewards of the environment who continually adopt new practices to protect and enhance their surroundings. Some of the latest practices include:

  • Nutrient management plans
  • Integrated pest management
  • Conservation Reserve program
  • Constructed wetlands
  • Jet rinsing
  • Recycling pesticide containers
  • Conservation tillage
  • Water Quality Management

Other positive changes for the future include expanding poultry production, increasing the use of reduced tillage, utilizing lower volumes of pesticides, and maintaining cotton acreage.

Ben Hill County is proud of its agricultural strength, diversity, and heritage. Agriculture enhances the quality of life of our citizens and plays a major economic role in maintaining Fitzgerald as a viable community.

Ben Hill County Extension Service
515 West Magnolia Street
P. O. Box 630
Fitzgerald, Georgia 31750
(229) 423-2360

 

 

Row Crops grown in Ben Hill County include peanuts, soybeans, tobacco, corn, grain, sorghum, wheat, rye, oats, and of course, King Cotton - - which has completed its comeback to the #1 cash crop (excluding the timber industry) in our county. Row crops are the largest sector of the agricultural economy. These crops represent 36,231 acres of farm land. The crops in this category yield a $17.2 million value.

 

 

 

Poultry, a relatively new industry in our county, added another $3,750,000 to the economy in 1996, making it a great example of our economic diversification.

 

 

 

 

 

Livestock represent a large portion of the total agricultural gross in Ben Hill county. Beef cattle, dairy cattle, and swine add to the diversity of Fitzgerald's agricultural base. Livestock population is close to 10,000 head and is worth an estimated $1.8 million.

 

 


 

Forestry, with more than 100,000 acres in timberland, is another large component of agriculture. The sale of saw-timber and pulpwood produced $8.1 million in 1996.

 

 

 


 

Fruits and Vegetables are becoming more established as a solid part of Ben Hill's production. Watermelons, peas, lima beans, squash, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and others contributed $1.9 million to the agricultural value in 1996.

 

 


 

Other enterprises, crop insurance, and government program payments contributed another $4.4 million to the total agricultural value of 1996.