Every night last week, special freight trains pulled out of Tifton, Ga., and sped north over the Southern and Atlantic Coast Line roads. The lo-to-yo-car trains, as well as dozens of chartered airliners, all carried the same load: tomato seed plants. Before the short shipping season ends, South Georgia farmers will ship a billion tender young tomato plants for planting in northern fields, along with hundreds of millions of onion, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato, pepper and lettuce seedlings.

For this business, now worth some $10,000,000 a year, south Georgia farmers can thank Paul Bearing Fulwood Sr., 56. When he was...

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