Latasha Everson/The Tifton Gazette
Tifton was one of six locations that hosted this year’s Georgia Ag Forecast seminar. The other five locations were Athens, Rome, Macon, Bainbridge and Lyons.
Over 250 people attended the two-hour seminar in Tifton, which was held Wednesday at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, says Maria Bowie, marketing director for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“We had a great turnout,” she stated Thursday during a phone interview from Bainbridge, where a seminar was being held. She noted that this is the first year that they have held one of the seminars in Bainbridge; over 80 people participated. She stated that Lyons is the last stop for this year’s Georgia Ag Forecast.
Bowie said the Georgia Ag Forecast is a series of seminars that are presented across the state each year. The University of Georgia presents the information through the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, while also partnering with the Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. During the seminars, various topics on Georgia agriculture are addressed to help growers and agribusinesses. Participants are also provided with a book of data on inputs, crops, livestock, financial outlook and other helpful information.
In one section of the book, it gives a 2012 recap on crops — grains and soybeans. It reads, “The 2012 crop season was a record for Georgia’s major crops as corn set record yields and soybeans had a second best yield. Grain and soybean acres increased overall in Georgia, shifting out of cotton. Corn again led the way followed by wheat, soybeans and grain sorghum in planted acreage. While drought conditions persisted in Georgia, timely rains allowed early planting and above-average crop conditions in 2012. Average prices were at record levels in 2011, and 2012 looks to break those again because of the Midwest drought.”
According to the Georgia Ag Forecast website, the 2013 seminar focused on UGA economists presenting the economic outlook for agricultural products and agribusinesses in the upcoming year. Additionally, the Georgia Department of Economic Development shared valuable information for those looking to get into international trade or learn about how the global economy impacts their businesses.
Bowie said this year’s theme was exporting, which is currently one of the hottest topics in Georgia agriculture. The keynote speaker for the seminar held in Tifton was Kathe Falls.
Falls oversees the International Trade team of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which provides services that contribute to the expansion of Georgia’s exports, the creation and retention of jobs attributable to exports and the continued internationalization of Georgia’s economy.
Also, cotton and peanut producer Jimmy Webb, who is currently a managing partner with Harvey Jordan Farms Partnership in Leary, was the local speaker. He provided participants with a regional perspective concerning the state’s cotton exports. Another speaker, Don Shurley, who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading cotton experts, gave an economic outlook. His work focuses on market situation and outlook, economics of production systems, policy and risk management.
Bowie said the Georgia Ag Forecast seminar began in 2007. That first year, the seminar was held in Albany for the Southwest Georgia area. However, since then, the seminar has been held in Tifton every year.
“We always come to Tifton,” Bowie said, commending the services at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.