Agriculture in Georgia has changed a lot over the years, but one thing that has remained constant is the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin as the go-to resource for buying and selling livestock, farm supplies and equipment, handcrafted and homegrown items, as well as the latest agriculture and consumer news.
Now, thanks to a partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia Map and Government Information Library (MAGIL), and the Digital Library of Georgia, Georgians can take a look back at the history of the Market Bulletin. More than 1,712 issues of the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin dating from 1926-1963 are now available in the Georgia Government Publications online database.
“We are fortunate that previous generations had the foresight to preserve early copies of the Georgia Market Bulletin, creating an archive that shows the incredible progression of agriculture from mule days to the technology age,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “We are grateful for the partnership of the University of Georgia’s Map and Government Information Library and the Digital Library of Georgia in helping us preserve this archive in digital form and make it available to all Georgians. It is a valuable record of the tremendous strides we’ve made as both an industry and a society.”
The project began when Amy Carter, editor of the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, reached out to UGA’s Georgia state documents librarian Sarah Causey, asking for help in preserving back issues that had begun to crumble.
“Amy and I both recognized this as a great opportunity to not only preserve her copies but to also enhance access by adding them to our digital collection of Georgia state publications in the DLG,” said Causey, who partnered with the Digital Library of Georgia to preserve and provide access to government documents and records that are part of MAGIL’s collections.
Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin has published agriculture and consumer news and market information, and facilitated sales for livestock, farm equipment, and other needs for Georgia farmers and others in the industry since 1917.
“Throughout its 103-year history, the paper has served as a means of communication between the Georgia Department of Agriculture and its constituency which, when you think about it, is every Georgian,” Carter said. “The Market Bulletin still connects farmers with consumers seeking farm-fresh goods statewide, but it also serves as a vehicle for other divisions of the department such as Fuel and Measures, Plant Protection, Animal Health, Structural Pest, and the Georgia Grown marketing program to reach consumers with important news and information that directly impacts their daily lives.”
Carter added that the newspaper’s archives demonstrate changing trends in farming over the decades, and a popular recipe feature continues today.
Advertisements from two of the historic issues illustrate the wide range of agricultural interests and products in the state during earlier times. In the July 1942 issue, Mrs. A.C. Freeman of Flovilla offered 15 big Seidel Leghorn hens for sale for $1 each, and Mrs. R.J. D’Daigo of Jenkinsburg was looking to buy 10 pounds of new goose or duck feathers (never used) for 50 cents per pound. In January 1948, Mrs. W.H. Hawk of Social Circle advertised 25 boxwoods for sale — no delivery. Mrs. H.L. White of Stockbridge had 300 giant yellow canna bulbs for $1 per dozen. Mr. M. T. Morrow of Newborn offered two large brood sows for sale, along with 12 shoats, four sows and 60 pigs. Others were looking for farm workers or farm jobs, such as Roy West of Covington who advertised himself as 40 years old, “sober and honest.”
“If you look at today’s paper, you’ll see that the Farm Machinery category of our classified ads section is very popular. Many people buy and sell second-hand tractors, combines, pickers, and tillers from and to fellow growers through the Market Bulletin,” said Carter. “Between the 1920s and the 1950s, however, that was actually a very small percentage of our advertising. Livestock, poultry, seeds, flowers, honeybees, and even chewing tobacco were much more in demand. Another popular item advertised for sale from the Great Depression up until the 1960s was ‘sackcloth’ – burlap or cotton feed and seed bags repurposed to make clothes, curtains, towels, all manner of household goods. You can tell by reading those ads that farmers quickly seized upon a lucrative ‘side hustle’ by washing, ironing, and selling the sacks that contained their livestock feed and crop seed.”
The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin is published monthly in print and online. Classifieds in the Market Bulletin are free to subscribers. An annual subscription to the paper costs $10 and includes online access. Subscribe online using a Visa or MasterCard; by calling the Consumer Call Center at 800-282-5852; or by mailing a check or money order for $10 to:
Georgia Department of AgricultureAtt: Market BulletinP.O. Box 742510Atlanta, GA 30374