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Georgia ag innovation center to open in Tifton

By Brad Haire
University of Georgia

Tifton, Ga. -- Gov. Sonny Perdue announced here today the creation of the state's third center for innovation, one that will take advantage of the area's strong agricultural research base.

The Georgia Center of Innovation for Agriculture will be housed on the Tifton, Ga., campus of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

It will be a collaboration between UGA, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Georgia Tech.

"This public-private-university partnership will foster creativity and innovation," Perdue said.

Economic leverage

The rich agricultural research of the Tifton area will be leveraged in partnership with private corporations and rural businesses to make products and services that will increase the efficiency of Georgia's agricultural industry and make it more competitive in the marketplace, he said.

"We have to improve our production capabilities through knowledge and science and facilities such as this and make sure we keep our state and our nation competitive in the 21st-century economy," he said.

Georgia must continue to be a leader in developing technologies, encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting existing industries into the 21st century, he said.

"I believe we have to focus on those things we do well. And we do agriculture well. But we can't rest on those laurels," he said. "We have to continue doing better."

Human capital

Education and the development of human capital will be the keys of success for future generations of Georgians, said UGA President Michael F. Adams.

"We can take human capital and knowledge through a place like this innovation center and turn that into economic development, which means real jobs for real people," Adams said.

Georgia's Centers of Innovation strategy began in 2003.

The Middle Georgia Aerospace Innovation Center is housed on the Macon State College Warner Robins campus and will draw on that area's aerospace resources around the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.

Researchers from Georgia Tech, Mercer University and Macon State will work directly with the ALC and partner with private industry to develop new aerospace technologies.

The Savannah Maritime Logistics Innovation Center will address national and international maritime logistics and security issues.

Researchers from Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern University and Armstrong Atlantic State University will work with the Ports Authority to develop new technologies for the efficient, secure movement of freight.

(Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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