In a larger context, local public officials often wonder aloud how they can keep landowners from selling out and developers from developing all over the county. Well, they can’t actually prevent that. (Except they already have in the Moody Exclusion Zone immediately around the AFB, but that’s not the point; in general they can’t.) But they can encourage developers not to go for cheap land way out on the edges of the county, and instead buy land near existing services (water, wastewater, busses, etc.). Cheap hookups, expedited permits, encouragement by local municipalities; these things can all help steer development.
Lowndes County and the city of Valdosta could even designate a Preferred Development Corridor and steer development there. It already exists: Valdosta up Bemiss Road towards Moody, plus the area in and around Valdosta, especially along I-75. What’s missing is official and unofficial encouragement for developers to develop there.
In addition, I keep hearing people saying there’s no farming left in Lowndes County. That’s just not true. It’s not like it was 50 years ago, sure, but there are people actively farming, and even seeking new land to rent. South Carolina promotes farming as its growth business. Lowndes County is big enough to promote both industry and farming.