With agricultural products being among the state’s top exports, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Georgia Southern University Division of Continuing Education are teaming up to help farmers and businesses learn how to capitalize on the growing export market.
The two institutions will host the 2013 International Agribusiness Conference and Expo on Sept. 25-26 in Savannah. The inaugural event will provide participants with information on what markets are open to their products, how to export their goods and what exporting can do for their bottom lines.
“As the global economy continues to grow, Georgia producers are poised to take advantage of increasing demand for food and fiber products,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Georgia can export poultry and cotton cheaper than Brazil, providing us a competitive advantage in shipping exports to Europe and China.”
In 2012, Georgia exported $37.9 billion worth of goods. The state is the top exporter of U.S. poultry, pecans and wood pulp; and peanut exports are on the rise. About 39 percent of the shipments exported through the port of Savannah are agricultural products.
“The forest products industry is a major economic engine for Georgia. It contributes nearly $25 billion in economic activity within the state and is responsible for more than $13 billion in exports,” said Alexander Koukoulas, president and CEO of the Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center in Savannah.
“Herty not only supports the pulp and paper industry, but it is in the forefront of the biomass-to-energy industry and has a 75-year history in developing new uses for bio-based materials. Our natural resources in biomass are second-to-none and present a huge opportunity for value creation.”
About one in three acres of farmland in the U.S. is planted for the export market, and an increasing number of small- and medium-sized farmers are looking to augment their incomes with international sales, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade Office.
Participants at the 2013 International Agribusiness Conference and Expo will attend educational forums and workshops, learning from experts in agricultural importing and exporting and about the latest practices in processing value-added agricultural products. They also will have a chance to meet with international trade representatives.
The conference’s main sponsor is Georgia Farm Bureau.
For more information about the conference’s schedule, see www.iace.us.com. Early registration is $170 and ends July 30.
For more information about the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, see www.caes.uga.edu. For more information about Georgia Southern University’s Division of Continuing Education, see ceps.georgiasouthern.edu.