Celebrating Women in Ag - State Senator Shelly Echols

A Conversation with Georgia State Senator Shelly Echols

Shelly Echols - square


As we celebrate Women's History Month, there's no better time to spotlight the remarkable contributions of women like State Senator Shelly Echols. From her upbringing on the family farm to her role at Jaemor Farms and in the Georgia Senate, Senator Echols exemplifies women's indispensable role in shaping Georgia's agricultural landscape. In this Q&A session, she shares her insights on the evolving role of women in agriculture, the significance of Georgia Grown products, and the enduring impact that agriculture plays in Georgia as its No.1 industry. Join us as we honor trailblazers like Senator Echols, whose commitment to agriculture leaves an indelible mark on Georgia.

GDA: How did you get involved in agriculture, and tell us about your operation at Jaemor Farms?

Senator Echols: I grew up on a poultry and beef cattle farm.  My dad had 3 broiler houses and raised beef cattle.  So, I’ve always been involved in agriculture.  I remember my most favorite day as a little girl was new baby chicken day.  I married Drew, who is a 5th generation farmer. His family’s farm, Jaemor Farms, grows peaches, strawberries, pumpkins, and summer vegetables.  Over the years, I have worked at the market, corn maze, and various you pick events on the farm.  This past fall I worked full time in our pumpkin patch hosting field trips.  It was so much fun teaching students how pumpkins grow.

GDA: Jaemor Farms has been a Georgia Grown member for a long time. What does Georgia Grown mean to you? 

SE: The Georgia Grown program is one of my favorite things.  I love going to the stores and seeing the Georgia Grown logo on products.  To me, it raises awareness to the consumer that they can directly support Georgia farmers by purchasing that product. 

GDA: Why should Georgia consumers seek out Georgia Grown goods at their local grocery store or farmers market? 

SE: First of all, buying Georgia Grown products directly supports Georgia’s farmers.  But consumers are beginning to better understand the nutritional value of locally grown food as well. 

GDA: How do you see the role of women in agriculture evolving in the future?

SE: My daughter is a sophomore at the University of Georgia in the College of Ag.  I love to see more and more women so involved in agriculture.  I think that over the next decade or so we will continue to see more women involved in agriculture.  I also think that many moms are beginning to garden more to have healthy options at home for their families. 

GDA: How can we encourage more women to look for opportunities in the ag industry?

SE: I think that highlighting females in ag is the easiest way.  With ag being the largest industry in Georgia, there are so many opportunities for women to fill those roles.

GDA: How do you think agriculture influences the lives of people in Georgia?

SE: With ag being the largest industry, so many people work either directly or indirectly in ag. 

GDA: What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not working on the farm or at the Capitol?

SE: What free time?  Seriously, I love spending time with my family.  We are busy so there is not a lot of free time.  I enjoy a good thriller or mystery book, my family loves snow skiing, so I try to do that with them, but at this point they are all better than I am.