By Jessica Akins
As a lifetime rural Georgian, Kurt Childers, president-elect for the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, knows there is nowhere else he’d rather call home. His life in rural Brooks County has led to unique opportunities to fulfill his calling as a voice and advocate for farmers and producers across the state.
Rural Roots: Born and raised in Brooks County, the Childers’ heritage runs deep in the red clay soil where the farm is located. “My family for several generations has always been farmers and cattle producers. It’s a way of life I’ve chosen to continue and a way to feed, clothe, and take care of my family. My mother’s side were producer farmers 1942. My dad’s side was always livestock and row crops. My dad after marrying my mom, came into partnership with my grandfather and they combined both worlds of cattle, produce and row cropping. The house I live in was built in ’48 of timber cut off this place.”
What makes him a hero? By serving as a voice for rural and agricultural areas, Kurt is a champion for our rural communities in Georgia and wants to see them prosper for generations to come. “A lot of my fellow farmers are larger operators than I am, and they don’t necessarily have the time to talk with their senators, congressmen, and others one-on-one. Through Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, I feel it’s my responsibility for myself as well as my fellow farmers to help lobby for issues that impact every farmer and every person in our communities across the state.”
A cause that is close to his heart: Family and friends in rural Georgia are second to none for Kurt and a driving force for him to continue his work for and in rural Georgia. Also, he wanted to remind people to “take time to get to know your neighbor and help out where you can. It’s nothing to do with paying it forward or paying it back. It’s just what we’ve been instilled by God to do.”
Something he wants every rural (and non-rural) Georgian to realize: In times when life is uncertain, whether it is volatile agricultural markets or COVID-19, recognizing the gift in rural Georgia is paramount. “Everyone is afraid and looking for direction in these times. I would just like to emphasize to everyone to enjoy the gifts that God has given us and appreciate that.”
Where he sees hope for rural communities: Kurt lights up when he thinks about the future of rural communities in Georgia. “There’s been a great initiative by our legislature to develop new opportunities in rural Georgia. They are working to get broadband across the state. You know, that is very important for youth. The economic opportunities they are hoping to bring to south Georgia will create more jobs so our youth can stay in this part of the country and not move off. I say youth, but, in general, giving more job opportunities for rural south Georgians to make a living with these initiatives. We can continue on for several more generations of living in rural.”
Photo Credit: Georgia Cattlemen’s Association
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