Published on 11/09/12

2013 Ag Forecast to focus on agricultural exports

By Merritt Melancon

As emerging international markets for Georgia agricultural products continue to grow, Georgia farmers need to be aware of the impacts the global marketplace can have on their bottom line.

This year, in recognition of the growing importance of the global marketplace to Georgia farmers, Georgia Department of Economic Development Director of International Trade Kathe Falls will deliver the keynote talks at the 2013 Ag Forecast series. The Farm-to-Port Ag Forecast will be held in locations across the state Jan. 25 to Feb. 1.

Falls, whose team works to find and open new markets for the state’s exports, will discuss the ways that the world’s developing markets and access to the state’s transportation infrastructure will affect Georgia agricultural exports in 2013.

“Exports have been a driving force in the U.S. economy during this recent downturn,” Falls said. “During the presentation we will take an in-depth look at Georgia’s agricultural exports over the past six years and discuss how GDEcD 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 Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Agriculture launched a joint agricultural export initiative in June 2012, with the goal of 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 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 University of Georgia’s 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.”

UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture have sponsored the annual Ag Forecast 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 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 deliver the forecasts for individual Georgia commodities.

In addition, local producers from across the state will share their 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.

Registration is now open and information about the 2013 Ag Forecast is posted at and on Twitter through @GaAgForecast.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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