Commissioner of Agriculture

The commissioner of agriculture provides financial relief to farmers, oversees the state’s agricultural development, disaster relief funds, school lunch programs, food safety, as well as regulates many items of daily living such as fuel pumps and store price scanners.

Nakita Hemingway

Democrat

Tyler Harper

Republican

David Raudabaugh

Libertarian

On the issues

Priorities

What priorities or key issues will you address if elected to this office?

Nakita Hemingway, Democrat

The key issues I will address as Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture are addressing food insecurity and ending childhood hunger, helping small farmers become more profitable and growing our economy, investing in sustainable farming practices, and protecting our farm workers and putting a stop to human rights violations.

Tyler Harper, Republican

The Tyler Harper campaign did not submit responses to our questionnaire. The response is taken verbatim from the campaign website:

  • Champion local and family farmers

  • Secure trade deals that put Georgia farmers first

  • Enhance food safety and security programs

  • Invest in the next generation of Georgia agriculture

  • Deliver funding to farmers in record time

  • Expand rural broadband & empower Georgia growers

David Raudabaugh, Libertarian

Ensure sensible cannabis legislation is brought to Georgia, that serves the people of Georgia in the best way possible including fully utilizing Industrial cannabis (Hemp) for all its beneficial uses.

Experience

What key experiences would you bring to this role?

Nakita Hemingway, Democrat

I come from a long line of farmers and my decision to run for office was born out of my desire to create better opportunities for every person who calls Georgia home, particularly in the areas of agriculture, land use and economic development. Georgia laws currently do very little to protect the rights of farmers and individual property owners. There are no laws to address land use for urban agriculture which is vital to addressing the growing demand for sustainable locally grown food sources.

I know firsthand the challenges that many farmers face. Several years ago, my husband and I applied for special use permits in my county of residence, to turn our 7.5 acres of agriculturally zoned land into the farm of our dreams. Although our permits were approved, the types of restrictions imposed were drastically inconsistent with the county ordinance and the laws of the state. This experience helped me to see a clear connection to how these tactics were used to disenfranchise small, and minority-owned farms throughout the state. Ultimately, contributing to a legacy of systemic injustice against African American farmers and the reduction of economic opportunity for many Georgians in rural communities.

Tyler Harper, Republican

The Tyler Harper campaign did not submit responses to our questionnaire. The response is taken verbatim from the campaign website:

As a 7th generation farmer and small businessman who still uses his grandfather’s tractor in the fields tending the same land that his family has had for over 100 years, Tyler Harper has a deep, personal appreciation for Georgia’s agricultural industry – and the millions of local growers it supports. Since 2013, he has worked to defend Georgia’s largest sector as a State Senator – where he currently serves in leadership on the Natural Resources, Public Safety, and Agriculture Committees. Additionally, Tyler currently serves as the Agriculture & Rural Development Vice-Chair of the Southern Legislative Conference. Over the years, he has championed our farms and farmers, worked to make them more competitive at home and abroad, and help cultivate the next generation of Georgia agriculture. As your next Agriculture Commissioner, Tyler will ensure our food supplies are kept safe, making sure that our families are fed. He will always put Georgia agriculture first and fight the overreach of Washington, D.C.

Tyler Harper lives in Ocilla and is a lifelong resident of South Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering and holds an associate’s degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He is an active member in his local community and has helped lead organizations across the state – from his local rotary club, to the Georgia Young Farmers Association, to the UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. When he is not serving the state at the Gold Dome or working on the family farm, Tyler can be found enjoying the outdoors – or at Satilla Baptist Church, where he plays in the band every Sunday.

David Raudabaugh, Libertarian

I have started multiple cannabis businesses and bring experience form many other states legalization efforts to ensure we do it right.

Agriculture and Climate Change

The US EPA estimates that the agricultural sector contributes 11% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US, making this sector one of the primary sources of emissions in the country. At the same time, warming temperatures due to climate change will alter growing conditions across the state. What policies would you enact to help the agriculture sector of Georgia thrive in the face of climate change?

Nakita Hemingway, Democrat

Sustainable farming is essential to the health of our state and our planet. Investing in the future of agriculture is one of my top priorities and that means finding ways for farmers to thrive even in the face of climate change. I support the full legalization of cannabis because I believe this crop can have profound impacts on our economy, environment, healthcare, and way of life, if done right. Here in Georgia, we must focus on regenerative agriculture, in which farms capture more carbon than they emit. Industrial hemp is twice as effective as trees in capturing carbon emissions from our atmosphere. Not only that, it is an extremely versatile multi-purpose crop that can be used in everything from textiles to home construction. It’s important that our Department of Agriculture starts looking for alternative solutions to our climate problems, and cannabis is a good place to start in order to enrich our economy while being mindful of our environment.

Tyler Harper, Republican

The Tyler Harper campaign did not submit responses to our questionnaire. No information was found on the campaign website related to this question.

David Raudabaugh, Libertarian

Industrial cannabis (Hemp) will provide us the first step in correcting our current path of production over environment. The path to centralization of meat processing is also an area that must be addressed from a carbon footprint along with the health of the animals before harvesting for our food. I feel traumatizing our food source before harvesting causes other long term health issues for consumers.