Not only do farmers benefit, all Georgians do.

As our legislative session gets under way, it's important to assess the public value of our industries, keeping in mind that agricultural output is dependent upon reliable, science-based information to sustain this growth.

Twelve billion dollars worth of value doesn't just happen.

 Research and education from state-supported institutions, like the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University, help keep Georgia's largest industry not only economically viable, but growing in a very competitive world market.

The competitive advantage that comes with sound research and education helps Georgia farmers produce safer, more nutritious products, while protecting the environment to continually improve the quality of life in Georgia.

Here are a few interesting facts found in the 2010 Farm Gate Value Report that shows how local communities across Georgia benefit from agriculture:

• Georgia produces 20 different commodities with farm gate values over $100 million and 48 commodities with a value over $10 million. That's not only a sign of high value, but high diversity as well.

 • Colquitt County had the highest farm gate value in 2010 at $475,048,630 followed by Franklin, Habersham, Madison, Banks, Mitchell, Hart, Jackson, Tattnall and Hall to make up the Top 10 agriculture producing counties.

• The top livestock county was Oglethorpe.

• Laurens County topped the forestry category, while Grady County led in ornamental horticulture value.

• Bacon County was the highest in the fruit and nut category.

•  Dooly County led the row and forage crop category and Colquitt County was tops in vegetables.

Check out the online report to find out what Georgia agriculture means to your local area at