Sumter Chamber hosts first Sumter Ag Tour

Published 4:11 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, Agribusiness Committee hosted the first Sumter County Ag Tour on Oct. 2. Presenting sponsor of this year’s tour was Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, along with Georgia Power Company hosting breakfast for all participants.
The Ag Tour was organized to provide an opportunity for over 40 business leaders, elected officials, and school officials to see firsthand and learn about the economic impact of the agribusiness industry in Sumter County and the State of Georgia. This year’s tour included Leatherbrook Holsteins LLC; a Dairy Heifer Replacement Farm; and Sumter Sod LLC, a turf grass production operation.
Adam Graft, DVM, and his wife Jane Graft are celebrating 10 years of growing Leatherbrook Holsteins, LLC in Americus. The dairy is a family-owned dairy farm that takes great pride in producing wholesome, high quality milk. All activities at the dairy revolve around taking the best care of our cows as possible. Milk cows live in barns that are cleaned three times per day and bedded with fresh sand daily. Fans and misters cool the cows whenever the temperature exceeds 65 degrees F. Cattle have access to feed 24 hours per day, and the feeding department is monitored by a professional nutritionist that visits the farm every week.
Environmental stewardship is practiced throughout the dairy farm. Several products that would normally go to landfills (such as out of date bread, brewers grain, and cotton gin trash) are part of the cows feed ration. Water is used to help cool the milk, and then re-used for cattle drinking water. Very little commercial fertilizer is purchased since cattle manure is such a valuable source of nutrients for growing crops.
The Grafts strive to make Sumter County a better community by their support and involvement in various church, school, and civic activities.

Sumter Sod harvests pallets of grass they have grown.

Chip Block is owner of Sumter Sod LLC opened in 1995, and headquartered in Leslie. It serves the state of Georgia, Southeast Alabama, East Alabama, Southeast Tennessee, and North Florida. Sumter Sod produces Tiftway 419 Bermuda, Centipede, Emerald Zoysia, JaMur Zoysia, Zeon Zoysia, Raleigh St. Augustine, and Rebel Blend Tall Fescue using the best fertilizers available. “Quality fertilizer encourages a strong root system with large rhizomes for healthy fast rooting that is important to establishing a durable turf system” stated Block.