Mar 29, 2023
Georgia Senate recognizes farmworkers

Georgia senators passed a resolution to recognize March 25-31 as Farmworker Awareness Week.

Sen. Sam Watson, co-owner of Chill C Farms, Moultrie, spoke about the importance of the 35,000 farmworkers who worked in Georgia fields and orchards last year.

“These people leave their families, leave their husbands and wives to come here to the U.S. to work so that we all have food,” said Watson, who is president of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA). “They are highly skilled and they are essential.”

Watson was joined by Sens. Shelly Echols, Larry Walker III, Lee Anderson and Russ Goodman in introducing the resolution.

Agriculture in Georgia contributes over $73 billion annually to the state’s economy and provides jobs for more than 340,000 people, according to a GFVGA news release. Agriculture provides $1.3 trillion in economic impact and food for 336 million people in the U.S., according to the release, with nearly 2.6 million farmworkers providing Americans with food.

In a senate floor statement, Echols recognized GFVGA’s past president — her husband Drew Echols, of Jaemor Farms — and one the farm’s workers, Kenneth Valenzuela Blancas. He has worked at Alto, Georgia-based Jaemor Farms for six years, returning to Mexico City in the off-season. Although he recently completed a law degree and works as a lawyer in Mexico, Blancas makes more money working at Jaemor Farms.

“Kenneth is a member of our family,” Drew Echols said in the release. “We’re blessed and proud to have him each year work with us on our farm to provide food for the state.”

Photo: Georgia state senators Shelly Echols and Sam Watson, right, with Kenneth Valenzuela Blancas, who works at Jaemor Farms. Blancas practices law in Mexico City in the off-season. Photo: Courtesy Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association.

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