Sunday November 29th, 2015 5:38AM

State, federal officials tout Georgia agri-business

By Rob Moore Reporter
BANKS CROSSING - Local, state and federal officials on Thursday touted the importance of Georgia agriculture as part of an event in the Banks Crossing area near Commerce.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Congressman Doug Collins, Banks County Commission Chairman Jimmy Hooper and others spoke during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Jaemor Farm Market at Banks Crossing.

In addition, Rep. Dan Gasaway, Sen. John Wilkinson, members of the Banks County Commission, Commerce city officials, representatives from the chambers of commerce in Banks and Jackson counties, and public safety officials from Banks and Jackson counties joined the Echols family for the event, held roughly a month after the new facility opened at 40081 U.S. Highway 441.

"They've been one of our key leaders in the rejuvenation of our Georgia Grown program and our branding program for Georgia products," Black said. "The whole Echols family, we just tip our hat to them. They're great partners."

"I'll tell you what they are, too," Black said. "They are the great example of this whole issue that we call sustainability today. There are a lot of newcomers to that term, but this family has 101 years of the farm being in the same hands - and five generations working in a business, that's sustainability."

Black said there are people all over the state like the Echols family who are taking a renewed interest in agriculture.

"We're really seeing a return to local agriculture," Black said. "We just embrace it."

Cagle echoed Black's sentiments about the return to farming.

"It really is exciting to see agri-business doing very, very well," Cagle said. "Jaemor has a great tradition. One of the things that thrills me the most is small, mom-and-pop/family-owned businesses that are competing with the big boys, like Walmart next door. It just goes to show and prove that the entrepreneurial spirit and the American dream is alive and well."
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