Local speakers to bring international trade home during UGA’s Ag Forecast series

Athens, Ga. – For farmers, the decision to start exporting their products can be daunting or even downright confusing. The University of Georgia’s 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast series in January and February will feature local producers and business people who will share how they broke into the export market and the benefits they’ve seen since making the leap.

“As we continue to move toward a global economy, there are new opportunities overseas and across our boarders that can provide a positive economic impact on Georgia’s farmers,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, which is helping organize the 2013 Ag Forecast.

“Hopefully, our local speakers will be able to share some insight and their experience in exporting Georgia products hopefully paving the way for others to take advantage of existing and emerging foreign markets.”

The seminar series will be held January in Athens, Rome, Macon, Tifton and Bainbridge and February in Lyons. Kathe Falls, Georgia Department of Economic Development director of international trade, will deliver the keynote address. The following local speakers will discuss specific challenges and benefits of exporting from their region of Georgia.

Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and the International Poultry Council, will speak Jan. 25. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens.

Maggie O’Quinn, who leads Certified Angus Beef® marketing efforts in parts of the U.S. and in Latin America, will speak Jan. 28. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Rome-Floyd County ECO River Center.

Al Pearson, owner of Pearson Farms in Fort Valley, will speak Jan. 29. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Georgia Farm Bureau headquarters in Macon.

Jimmy Webb, a managing partner with Harvey Jordan Farms Partnership in Leary, will speak Jan. 30. Registration will start at 7 a.m. in the UGA Conference Center in Tifton. Webb, a 28-year veteran cotton and peanut producer, has held leadership roles in a number of cotton and peanut trade groups.

Richard Barnhill, owner of Mazur and Hockman Peanut Brokers, will speak Jan. 31. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in Bainbridge in the Cloud Livestock Facility.

Jon Schwalls, director of operations for Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, will speak Feb. 1. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Toombs County Agri-Center in Lyons.

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is coordinating the seminars in conjunction with Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The Ag Forecast seminars were made possible through an endowment funded by Georgia Farm Bureau. This is the seventh year the program has been offered.

The two-hour programs provide lunch or breakfast and 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.

Registration is now open, and information about the 2013 Ag Forecast is posted at georgiaagforecast.com and on Twitter through @GaAgForecast. For more information, contact a local UGA Cooperative Extension office at 800/275-8421.