Advice for our Farm and Forestry community

Published 7:07 am Friday, July 6, 2018

Buddy Leger: Leger & Son, Inc.  

Georgia relies on our agriculture community. Farmers – like myself – take great pride in providing for families all across the south. I’m proud that agriculture is the largest economic engine in our state, contributing to over $73 billion of economic impact and more than 383,000 jobs that fuel all of Georgia, especially our rural communities. This upcoming election will have a lasting impact on our family farms and the state we call home.

As a lifelong farmer, I’m well aware of the attempts by government to over-regulate and snatch land rights away from private property owners. Most of these attempts have occurred at the Federal level under Obama policies, like the expansion of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) by the EPA in 2015.

However, it’s also important to note that one of the two Republican candidates for governor also promised to advance land grabbing laws and regulations that would be detrimental to our farming community.

Brian Kemp ran for the State Senate on the following platform: “Kemp advocates increasing land buffers around streams and rivers to protect them from development. Being in the building industry, he knows the need to establish firm standards across the state to protect our environment.” It was posted on his Kemp for Senate website, and yes, farmers, as well as Realtors and those who believe in private property rights, should be troubled by this.

The reason I follow politics is because it impacts life on the farm. In this case, what Brian Kemp proposed isn’t right — and my fellow farmers must be made aware of his position.

My family has farmed in Georgia for four generations. We’ve worked hard to grow watermelon in the past and pecans now, but we also work hard to protect the environment with responsible and thoughtful management practices and technology. We invest in protecting the environment every day because we make a living from our land.

For Brian Kemp to suggest we need any more regulations, expanding government’s ability to limit private property land use, is absurd. Such land grabbing comments show he is out of touch with farmers and private property owners.

As for me, I’ll keep fighting to protect my own land rights. I simply don’t need the government getting in my way.

I’ve stood with trusted farm organizations, including the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Farm Bureau and others, to fight for agriculture and private property rights. This is a core issue for farmers and property owners – such policies are extremely dangerous for the future of Georgia’s agriculture industry.

I encourage you to get involved in this election. And, I encourage you to get to know what motivates and drives the decisions of those we elect.

For me, I support those with a track record of protecting and growing Georgia’s number one industry, not those with a desire to grow the overreach of government.

Buddy Leger

Cordele, Ga.