Bainbridge to host 2013 ag forecast

Published 6:18 am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

University of Georgia economists and local farmers will gather in Bainbridge later this month, to discuss the future of agriculture in the state.

On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Cloud Livestock Facility will host the “2013 Georgia Ag Forecast.” During this event, UGA economists will give the economic outlook for agricultural products and agribusinesses, in the coming year. In addition, the Georgia Department of Economic Development will share valuable information for those looking to get into international trade, or who wish to learn about how the global economy impacts their business.

“This forecast will give local farmers a broad, economic view of agriculture from a national and international standpoint,” said Mitchell May, the county’s UGA extension coordinator. “It should give our agriculture business people a lot of insight of some factors and parameters they should be aware of for the coming year’s growing season.”

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The check-in for the forecast will be at 9:30 a.m., and the seminar will be from 10 a.m. until noon. Lunch will follow.

The forecast will tentatively open with a UGA faculty member giving an overview of the upcoming year. Then, a regional speaker will discuss important topics in Georgia agriculture. The speakers will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and a networking lunch. Participants will leave the meeting with a preview of the upcoming year, and a copy of this year’s Ag Forecast Book, which provides a detailed analysis of each major product produced in Georgia.

Richard Barnhill, the owner of Mazur and Hockman Peanut Brokers, in Albany, Ga., will be the keynote speaker at the Bainbridge forecast.

Barnhill has worked in the peanut processing industry since 1986, and he is a former president of the American Peanut Council, a former board member of the Georgia Peanut Producers Association and past chairman of the Associate Board of the American Peanut Shellers Association. He will speak on the export market for Georgia peanut products.

May said that the forecast will be very helpful to local farmers, because it will give them economic insights that should help them improve their bottom line in 2013.

“For example, there’s a possibility that there may be a potential surplus situation for corn in 2013, which would drive the price down,” he said. “If you’re going to contract a price on corn, you might want to do it early in the year, rather than wait. That’s just one example of some of the subjects that might be discussed at the forecast.”

The faculty member scheduled to speak is Dr. Nathan Smith, an associate professor and extension economist with the UGA’s Tifton campus.

May said this is the first time that a forecast will be held in Bainbridge.

“The Cloud Livestock Facility is a beautiful facility and an ideal location for an event like this,” he said. “Bainbridge is sort of a hub for a lot of farmers in this area, so it’s a good convenient place for everyone to come together and meet.”

The 2013 Ag Forecast is also scheduled for five other Georgia cities: Athens on Jan. 25, Rome on Jan. 28, Macon on Jan. 29, Tifton on Jan. 30, and Lyons on Feb. 1.

The Georgia Ag Forecast is a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences program, made possible through an endowment from the Georgia Farm Bureau and support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

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