Sedrick Rowe is a first-generation peanut grower in Albany, Georgia. While he grew up in an ag community, it was Rowe’s experience at Fort Valley State University (FVSU), where he played on the football team, that led him to farming as a career.
As a running back, staying in shape and eating healthy was top of mind. When considering his career, “I was trying to find a niche, and I kept saying, ‘If I’m always eating healthy, all of these fruits and vegetables and stuff, I can grow them myself.’ A farmer had an organic farm right across from the football field, so I went over there one day, and I started learning a little bit more about it.”
Rowe gained farming and research experience at FVSU and started his own operation in 2017. He describes growing organic peanuts as “intense” when it comes to weed control. At harvest, “you aren’t just digging up peanuts, you’re digging up other roots and weeds and jamming up your peanut digger,” he said. “Sometimes you have to hop off and pull stuff off the digger. You find yourself having to always have more labor now because someone has to be off behind the tractor.”
But Rowe seeks out a challenge. At FVSU, he gained experience growing neam plants, a hemp cousin. When production was legalized in Georgia, Rowe thought, “no one knows about this crop in Georgia. This is my chance right now.” After three years of growing hemp, Rowe said, “now we’re at the point where I feel like I have been growing it since day one, I haven’t stopped. I mastered this crop. Now with this crop I’m growing more for research rather than for profit.” Rowe is hopeful that the more the agricultural community understands about hemp, the better experience it will be for growers.
Still, in the early years of his farming career, Rowe is also the founder of the South Georgia chapter of the Young Farmers Coalition and is a board member of the Georgia Organic Peanut Association. Additionally, Rowe was featured in The Peanut Podcast, which can be found here.