The Port of Savannah will hopefully be deepened so that larger ships can load and unload there. When the Panama Canal is widened for larger ships to pass more quickly to Asia, we are ready to assume our new role as a source of food and fiber for Asia and the rest of the world.

Will we expand our agrarian economy?

Georgia fortunately has good agricultural leadership and policies. Farmers in Georgia have an absolute right to practice their profession. That is not the case in other states where farming goes unappreciated and farmers are leaving in droves. If farmers move away, who will produce the food needed for their state or the world?

Many agribusinesses leave other states and move to Georgia. Our right to work laws and responsible state policies make us an attractive state for businesses. Our pleasant people, climate and world-class airport don’t hurt either.

Sure we have many problems to solve. Immigration is just one that today seems almost hopeless given the federal government’s reluctance to deal with the problem.

But through more research and study, we are confident we will continue to improve crop planting and harvesting. Machines to harvest apples, for example, aren’t that far off.

The agro-economy didn’t fall as far as other economic sectors during the recession. And, it’s growing back quicker as exports expand. We can’t do without food. Agriculture is one of the few areas of our economy where the U.S. routinely has a positive trade balance. In 2010, agriculture accounted for a $47.5 billion positive influence on the balance of trade.

Given our ability in Georgia to produce more food and the world’s need for substantially more food over the next 40 years, we are ideally suited to expand our agricultural economy and keep Georgia’s economy on solid ground. (For Angle’s thoughts on budget cuts and the U.S. food supply see http://southeastfarmpress.com/government/proposed-budget-cuts-threaten-us-food-supply).

 (J. Scott Angle is dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.))