Farmers and “city folk” are strongest when they work together, according to Gordon Sawyer.
Sawyer was the guest speaker Tuesday at the annual Hall County Farmer Appreciation Breakfast, held during the national Farm-City Week. The annual breakfast, held at the East Hall Community Center, was hosted by the Hall County Farm Bureau and the Hall County Cooperative Extension.
“The farm people in any county, when you get down to it, and the city folks should be one team,” Sawyer said. “The first time I remember getting involved in Farm-City Week … the idea was that people in town didn’t know a whole lot about farms, and vice versa.”
Sawyer is a middle Tennessee native and longtime Gainesville resident. He served as the first executive secretary of the Georgia Poultry Federation and editor of the Poultry Times. He was named to the Hall County Agribusiness Hall of Fame in 2007.
Today, Sawyer is a radio commentator and an author of Northeast Georgia history books. He shared some of the history of the agribusiness and poultry industry in Hall County at the breakfast Tuesday.
Sawyer said the poultry business in Hall meant the entire area had to become a team. Happenings in the town required the product and the work provided by the farms, and farmers required the business offered in the city.
The thing that counts and that unites farmers and city dwellers, Sawyer said, is the flow of money.
“This is a profit-making business, or it’s supposed to be,” he said. “It’s not always, but it’s doing well. Right now, the thing about the poultry business is 90 percent of our economy of our farm operations is really tied to poultry at this point.”
The poultry business in Hall has supported other major area industries, Sawyer said, particularly the trucking and logistics industry.
“All that started because we had truckloads of ice-packed chicken going off to Miami or Cincinnati or somewhere,” Sawyer said.
While poultry farmers helped indirectly develop these alternate industries, they likewise depend on them for their services.
“Agriculture is important,” he said. “The poultry business is important to our economy, and if you pull that thing out, we’ve got trouble.”