By Loren Lindler
As far back as he can remember, Walt Pridgen would get up every morning that he didn't have school and go to the farm with his dad. Having worked on the family farm his entire life, he made it a career goal to continue to grow the family farm and to advocate for the industry that has helped him become the man that he is today.
"Growing up on the farm, I never looked at agriculture and the farm as a job, I see it more as a way of life," he said.
Pridgen attended Citizens Christian Academy in Douglas, Georgia. After graduating, he attended South Georgia State College and one year later, he transferred to pursue his career goals at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton. In May 2017, he graduated with a bachelor of science in diversified agriculture.
He currently lives on the family farm, known as Pridgen Farms, in Broxton, and also operates Seven Creek Farms. They raise beef cattle, have twelve broiler houses, and grow hay and corn silage.
It comes at no surprise that work on the farm never ends, but Pridgen is also involved in a number of organizations in the agricultural industry.
His other duties include president for the South Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Cattleman’s Association, chairman for the Coffee County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers, board member of the Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council, and he serves on the State Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, and Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Advisory Committee for Poultry.
"Through these organizations, I hope to help people understand that everyone has a voice and agriculture is something that we cannot live without," he said.
In 2018, food and fiber production and related industries represented $76 billion in output to Georgia’s $1.07 trillion economy, according to the University of Georgia. With Pridgen's involvement on the family farm and in a number of agricultural organizations, he serves as an advocate for Georgia's number one industry - agriculture.
"I worry that if people in rural Georgia do not step up and be heard, our small town, farm life way of living may slowly fade," he said. Pridgen has high hopes of making an impact on rural Georgia and the agricultural industry. Living in rural Georgia, he has realized that everyone has a voice, but very few step up to be heard.
"I plan to pass on my knowledge of agriculture to future generations, just as it was passed on to me," he said.