Published on 01/14/19

Georgia Ag Forecast and resource fair to offer assistance to hurricane-affected communities

By Merritt Melancon, Clint Thompson

South Georgia farmers, community leaders and business owners recovering from Hurricane Michael can learn about additional recovery assistance available at a free resource fair immediately following the upcoming 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast meetings in Bainbridge, Georgia, on Jan. 31 and in Tifton, Georgia, on Feb. 1.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will host the resource fair along with agricultural agencies, other UGA divisions and private entities that can assist with hurricane recovery.

According to UGA Extension Associate Dean Laura Perry Johnson, Georgia Ag Forecast organizers have invited participants from state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service, Rural Development, and Natural Resource Conservation Service; agricultural lending agencies; UGA Public Service and Outreach; and the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“The Ag Forecast meetings in Tifton and Bainbridge provide the perfect opportunities to offer additional resources to those affected by Hurricane Michael. These meetings are in the heart of both agriculture and the affected areas,” said Johnson. “We are grateful to our partners for working with UGA Extension to support rural Georgia in this time of need.”

The registration fee has been waived for this year’s Georgia Ag Forecast seminars in Bainbridge and Tifton thanks to generous support from Georgia Farm Bureau along with AGCO.

Georgia Ag Forecast is an annual seminar series presented by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. At the events, UGA agricultural economists address Georgia farmers, lenders and agribusiness leaders about the latest trends and economic conditions in Georgia agriculture.

Saralyn Stafford, rural development manager at the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government, believes the resources available will be extremely helpful to the southwest Georgia communities that were devastated by Hurricane Michael.

“Knowing how many farmers, ag businesses and ag lenders attend the annual Ag Forecast events, UGA Extension and UGA Public Service and Outreach felt it would provide a great opportunity to bring in other resources that are available to help the agricultural communities in their Hurricane Michael recovery efforts,” Stafford said. “Our goal is to make it easier for them to make contacts with possible assistance providers.”

Those interested in attending an Ag Forecast meeting in Bainbridge or Tifton must preregister at

The Bainbridge forecast will be held at the Decatur County Agricultural Center. Check-in will begin at 9 a.m. with seminars and lunch following at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The Tifton forecast will be held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. Check-in will begin at 7 a.m. with breakfast and seminars following at 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Those interested in making donations to support ongoing rural initiatives at CAES are invited to contact the CAES Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 706-542-3390.

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.

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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