William Wingate: Executive Co-Chair & Co-Founder
Will’s deep experience in representing government clients and lobbying for needs like the transferability of agricultural tax credits brings a unique perspective to the Second Century operation. His proven expertise and extensive relationships across the state will help guide Second Century AG’s focus on growing new wealth for Georgia farmers, communities, and economies.
What brought you to the hemp industry?
The idea of starting on the ground floor with an emerging industry brought me into hemp. I also wanted to focus on bringing jobs to rural Georgia and realized agriculture is the best industry in which to accomplish this goal.
What’s your backstory? What did you do before this “green revolution” in GA?
The Wingate family has farmed in Irwin County for 100 years. My great grandfather purchased our farm around 100 years ago. I am a proud graduate of Irwin County High School. I attended college at Georgia Tech and never left Atlanta. However I have always had a strong attachment to land and the outdoors. I spent 17 years working at the State Capitol in Atlanta as a lobbyist. I invested in timberland and real estate all over Georgia. I started a business assisting landowners placing their properties in permanent conservation easements. Even though I lived in Midtown Atlanta, I spent days each week in rural Georgia working with farmers and landowners. Getting into the hemp industry was a great segue back into my hometown. I am excited to start a business that will benefit local farmers and businesses.
How’d that prepare you for now?
I feel my political experience, my connection with both farmers and Atlanta business leaders, and my farming background in Irwin County are a perfect fit for this new industry.
How does your experience make SCA a strong player in the GA hemp market?
We have built a fantastic team of leaders within Second Century Ag. We all have strengths that will enable us to meet our goals. I have a tremendous rolodex of Georgians who we can call upon as investors, farmers, and supporters.
How do you see the industry changing the most in the next year or two?
Once the FDA gives guidance on how Hemp products can be used as a food and drink additive, this industry will grow exponentially. Europe has led the way, and the US is not far behind.
If someone had told you 5 years ago that you’d be growing cannabis, what would you have said?
Hemp was not on my radar screen five years ago. However looking back at my path I see how I ended up in this space! It is a natural progression of my career path to combine my skills into this industry.
What’s your prediction for the future of hemp and cannabis products?
My belief is that in 5 years hemp will be a part of our daily life. It is such an amazing plant. We are at the dawn of a second century with our relationship with hemp. I am proud to be leading the revolution.