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UGA announces 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast By Merritt Melancon

The University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development has announced the date and locations of the 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast.

The 2013 Georgia Ag Forecast will celebrate the growing export market for Georgia’s produce and the international impact of Georgia agriculture.

The university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture have sponsored the annual seminar series for the last several years. The six half-day programs bring together agricultural economists and economic development experts from around the state to give producers and business owners a preview of what they can expect from the market in the coming year.

“The main objective of the ag forecast is to provide Georgia’s producers and agribusiness leaders with information on where we thing the industry is headed in the upcoming year to help them plan more effectively,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the Center of Agribusiness and Economic Development.

Economists from The Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and The Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics will be delivering the forecasts.

In addition to the annual Ag Forecast, economists will discuss the growing export market for Georgia’s agricultural products and the potential for Georgia agriculture. The export session will include producers and agribusinesses from across the state who will share their stories of how they were able to access overseas markets.

The 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast will be held January 25 in Athens, January 28 in Rome, January 29 in Macon, January 30 in Tifton, January 31 in Bainbridge and February 1 in Lyons.

Registration will open Nov. 1, but those interested in attending may want to mark their calendars now.

While agriculture makes up a large part of their economies, Lyons and Bainbridge have never hosted the Ag Forecast before, and it’s been several years since Rome or Athens have hosted the event.

Organizers wanted to bring the annual agricultural outlook event to new audiences, so they decided to take advantage of new conference facilities in Rome, Lyons and Bainbridge.

"We are excited to host the Ag Forecast in Lyons,” said Cheryl A. Poppel, Toombs County Extension coordinator. “Several of our producers have attended the event in Statesboro. We hope the local event will bring more producers from our area.”

Mitchell May, Extension coordinator in Decatur County, thinks hosting the forecast will help attract a local audience, but also believes that people were likely to show up for this year’s forecast anyway.

It’s shaping up to be a good year for several Georgia commodities, and people want to see what next year will bring, May said.

Information about the 2013 Ag Forecast will be posted at georgiaagforecast.com and on Twitter through @GaAgForecast.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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