UGA Extension Ag Forecast to be held across Georgia Jan. 24-31

Athens, Ga. – Agriculture topics from the price of peanut butter to how Europe’s demand for wood pellets will impact Georgia’s lumber supply will be discussed at the 2014 Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series. Seminars will be held Jan. 24-31 in Macon, Athens, Lyons, Tifton, Bainbridge and Cartersville. Registration for the series is open at www.georgiaagforecast.com.

The complicated web of policies, climatic conditions and international consumer trends that impact Georgia’s agricultural industry affect Georgians whether they go to work in a peanut field or an office tower.

Each January as part of the Ag Forecast seminar series, University of Georgia economists explain the factors that will influence the state’s largest industry in the coming growing season. In addition to information about commodity markets and yields, these economist link agricultural trends to the state’s economic health as a whole.

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Department of Agriculture sponsor the annual seminar series, and its attendance grows every year. Last year, almost 1,000 business people, farmers and community leaders attended their local events.

“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,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

“It helps farmers plan what they’re going to plant in the next year, but it’s also good for bankers and other businesspeople who do business with farmers or who will be impacted by the farm economy.”

Topics will vary by location, with economists focusing on commodities that are most important to that region of the state.

However, some prominent topics that may be addressed include:
• Georgia’s continued economic recovery and the pace it will take in 2014.
• The Food Safety Modernization Act’s impact on Georgia’s growing vegetable industry.
• The impact of new trade liberalization partnerships and how they will influence Georgia fruit, nut and vegetable exports.
• The way local food and home gardening movements will affect Georgia’s greenhouse industry.
• How the growing biofuels industry (mostly fuel pellets for export) will impact lumber markets as more Georgia pellet mills come on line in 2014.

Farm succession planning will be addressed at every location at this year’s forecast. Macon attorney Will Thompson will serve as guest speaker for this segment and will offer advice for farmers and landowners on how to best pass land and businesses to the next generation.

The 2014 Ag Forecast sessions will be held Jan. 24 in Macon, Jan. 27 in Athens, Jan. 28 in Lyons, Jan. 29 in Tifton, Jan. 30 in Bainbridge and Jan. 31 in Cartersville.
For more information on the 2014 Ag Forecast, see www.georgiaagforecast.com or search @UGA_CollegeofAg on Twitter.