Agriculture is Morgan County’s largest industry. Ranked third in the state for production of beef cattle and fourth in the state for dairy, Morgan County’s agrarian landscape is dominated by cattle pastures, timber, horses, and cotton, providing the bucolic scenery that is the foundation of the growing agritourism industry.
The Conservancy strongly supports CUVA and FLPA for two main reasons: 1) these programs have protected farmers’ livelihood for many years, allowing them to retain their land for farming purposes (instead of subdividing/developing to pay their property taxes); and 2) backed by UGA’s data about the cost of community services in Morgan County, we know that land in CUVA pays more in taxes than it receives in services (unlike residential development in the county). For these two reasons, the Conservancy has promoted the use of these programs for many years. See the Cost of Community Services Study here.
Supporting farmers through agritourism opportunities and creating market demand for their products through a regional food hub are additional ways in which the Conservancy has supported the local farming community. The Conservancy’s Farm to Market Alliance has successfully produced Georgia’s first farm trail (FARMeander) and inspired a County-funded Regional Food Hub Feasibility Study, which in turn inspired the development of Farmview Market, a regional agritourism destination and one leg of the three-legged regional food hub concept.