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Toombs Agri-Center to Host State Conference
Friday, 11 January 2013

January 11-- For farmers, the decision to start exporting their products can be daunting or even down right confusing.

UGA’s 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast economic outlook series will feature local producers and business people who will share how they broke into the exportmarket and the benefits they’ve seen since making the leap.

 Jon Schwalls, director of operations for Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetables in Norman Park, will speak about he global fruit and vegetable market at the Feb. 1 Ag Forecast in Lyons.

Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable produces cucumbers, peppers, squash, watermelons, green beans and other vegetables. In addition to their 3,000-acre farm in Georgia, Southern Valley operates a 1,500-acre farm in Mexico so that they can provide vegetables to their customers year-round.

 “As we continue to move toward a global economy, there are new opportunity overseas and across our boarders that can provide a positive economic impact on Georgia’s farmers,” said Kent Wolfe, executive director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, which is helping to organize the 2013 Ag Forecast. “However, being aware of these opportunities and the issuesassociated with accessing foreign markets can be an overwhelming task.

 “Hopefully, our local speakers will be able to share some insight and their experience in exporting Georgia products hopefully paving the way for others to take advantage of existing and emerging foreign markets.”

UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences coordinates the seminars in conjunction with Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The Ag Forecast seminars were made possible through an endowment funded by Georgia Farm Bureau. This is the seventh year the program has been offered.

This is the first time UGA has offered an Ag Forecast session in Lyons. The program at the Toombs County Agri-Center will run from 10 a.m. until noon, with lunch following.

The two-hour program brings 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.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Director of International Trade Kathe Falls will deliver the keynote, and Schwalls will address the specific challenges and benefits of exporting from their region of Georgia.

Registration is now open and information about the 2013 Ag Forecast is posted at georgiaagforecast.com and on Twitter through @GaAgForecast. For more information, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-275-8421.

The seminar series will also be held in Athens on Jan. 25, Rome on Jan. 28, Macon on Jan. 29, Tifton on Jan. 30 and in Bainbridge in Jan. 31. Those Ag Forecast sessions will have different local speakers.

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