FLOWER POWER: This fourth-generation Georgia farmer continues the family legacy with his thriving Arena Acres U-Pick Farm
For Samantha, a fourth-generation farmer, farming runs in her veins. The land she farms today belonged to her great-grandfather, who was a dairy farmer. Her passion is a testament to the enduring connection between her family and the land dating back to the early 1900s.
But Samantha’s vision for Arena Acres goes beyond farming — it’s about inviting people to embrace the outdoors, reconnect with nature, and get their hands dirty.
“I have sunflowers behind me…and some dahlias,” Leinberger said, describing the various plants that adorn her fields. “We will continue to plant sunflowers through the fall. We are planting more this week, and then in two weeks, so we plant sunflowers every two weeks.
Lineberger’s journey from high school student dreaming of being a florist to full-fledged flower grower is a testament to her dedication.
“I was on the CTE floriculture team with FFA, and I loved flowers, and I loved design,” she said. “I always thought I would become a florist.”
As time passed, her heart led her down a different path.
“Instead of being stuck in a building full of plants all day, I preferred to be a little closer to the place where the plants thrive, and that is where my dream of becoming a flower farmer blossomed,” she said.
“My great-grandfather was a dairy farmer, and this is his land,” she said. Her connection to the land and her family’s agricultural heritage is clear. “It’s been in the family for a long time since the early 1900s.”
Lineberger’s dedication to preserving her family’s farmland while growing the community in Houston County around it.
“As Houston County grew, and as people moved here, a lot of the farmland was slowly turning into homes,” she said. “It’s very important to preserve what’s left of the farmland to show people moving to Houston County how important agriculture is, where your food comes from, where your clothes come from.”
With plans to expand and grow, Arena Acres aims to become an agritourism hotspot in central Georgia. Samantha sums up her vision with a touch of local pride.
“It’s nice to have a little bit of what we call ‘Perry-dise’ here in the middle of what’s being developed,” she said.
When beavers and their dams disappeared in the 1990s, the land around Jason Fellows’ Idaho ranch began losing water because the creek was moving too quickly downhill. Jason remembered where those dams were and built Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) to bring sustainability to the soil and water and to attract beavers back to the area.
When you think of the logging and lumber industry, hazy scenes of the Pacific Northwest may come to mind. However, there has been a shift in recent years, as southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia have emerged as among America’s leading timber producing states.