Georgia international trade director to headline 2013 Ag Forecast series

Registration is now open for the statewide seminar series

Athens, Ga. – In recognition of the growing importance of the global marketplace to Georgia producers, Kathe Falls, director of international trade in the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will deliver the keynote address at the 2013 Ag Forecast series. Hosted by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the series will be held Jan. 25 to Feb. 1 in locations across the state.

The theme of the 2013 Ag Forecast series is “Farm to Port: Maximizing the Global Impact of Georgia Agriculture.” Falls, whose team works to find and open new markets for the state’s exports, will discuss the ways developing markets and access to the state’s transportation infrastructure will affect Georgia’s agricultural exports in 2013.

“Exports have been a driving force in the U.S. economy during this recent downturn,” she said. “During the presentation we will take an in-depth look at Georgia’s agricultural exports over the past six years and discuss how (the Georgia Department of Economic Development) is positioned to help ag companies accelerate their export growth through our new joint trade initiative with Commissioner Gary Black and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.”

The Georgia departments of economic development and agriculture launched a joint agricultural export initiative in June 2012, with the goal supporting farmers wishing to export their products and increasing the global visibility of Georgia agriculture.

Georgia farmers exported more poultry in 2011 than any other state in the nation and sent millions of dollars worth of peanuts, pecans, wood products and cotton overseas as well.

“You always want to grow new markets for your products,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “Georgia has a competitive advantage over our South American competitors in shipping agricultural products overseas to both Europe and China. As a result, Georgia producers need to be in a position to take advantage of overseas demand for Georgia’s food and fiber products.”

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture have sponsored the annual Ag Forecast seminar series for the past 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 think the industry is headed in the upcoming year to help them plan more effectively,” Wolfe said.

Economists from the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and the UGA department of agricultural and applied economics will be delivering the forecasts for individual Georgia commodities. In addition, local producers from across the state will share stories of how they were able to access overseas markets.

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

For more information or to register, see georgiaagforecast.com. To follow the forecast on Twitter, see @GaAgForecast.