Covering an area of 265 square miles in south central Georgia, Tift County was created in 1905 from sections of Berrien, Irwin, and Worth counties. The county was named after Nelson Tift (1810-91), who was an instrumental civic and political force in the Albany area. His nephew Henry Tift founded the county seat, Tifton, in 1872 when a sawmill began operating in the town. The city was later incorporated in 1890.

According  to the 2010 U.S. census, Tift County had a population of 40,118, an increase from the 2000 population of 38,407. Two smaller communities in the county are Omega, which has a population of 1,221, and Ty Ty, with a population of 725. Ty Ty gained its name from the trees that once lined Ty Ty Creek, which runs through the area. These Ironwood and Buckwheat trees are referred to as white and black titi trees.

Tift County Courthouse
Tift County Courthouse

Courtesy of Don Bowman

Tift County is touted as the “Plant Capital of the World” because of the many different varieties of plants and vegetables that are grown in the area and shipped around the globe. With just under 3,400 students, Tift County’s Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is the largest residential two-year institution in the state and offers forty-one transfer programs and nineteen certificate programs. The University of Georgia Tifton campus conducts research on crops and the farming industry. The Tift-area campus of Southern Regional Technical College (formerly Moultrie Technical College) is located just south of Tifton and offers certificate programs and adult literacy programs, as well as Quick Start training for business and industry.

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.

The county is bisected by Interstate 75, which makes it a prime location for business and industry. The area has access to the Henry Tift Myers Airport, which can support local and commuting air traffic. One of the largest employers in Tift County is Shaw Industries.

Georgia’s official museum of agriculture, the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village (formerly the Georgia Agrirama), is a living history museum that recreates daily life in the late nineteenth century. The site features a functioning sawmill, a locomotive, working farms, an operational general store, and a Gutenberg printing press. More than thirty-five restored or reconstructed buildings sit on the ninety-five-acre preserve.

Annual events in Tift County include the Love Affair Fine Arts Festival, the Spring Folk Life Festival and Fiddler’s Jamboree, and a Victorian Christmas.

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Tift County Courthouse

Tift County Courthouse

The Tift County Courthouse, located in Tifton, was completed in 1913. Designed by W. A. Edwards, it is the only courthouse ever to be constructed in Tift County.

Courtesy of Don Bowman

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

The Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School, shown here in 1918, was established in 1908 as a high school in Tift County. In 1933 the school was renamed Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, which is today the largest residential two-year college in Georgia.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #tif005.

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