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Seminar to help farmers exporting decisions
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For farmers, the decision to start exporting produce can be daunting or even confusing.

The University of Georgia's 2013 Farm to Port Ag Forecast economic outlook series will feature local producers and businesspeople who will share how they broke into the export market and the benefits they've seen since making the leap.

"As we continue to move toward a global economy, there are new opportunities overseas and across our borders 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 issues associated 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 seminars were made possible through an endowment funded by Georgia Farm Bureau. This is the sixth year the program has been offered.The two-hour program in Athens will provide lunch and 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 program will be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on the UGA campus.

The Athens seminar will be held Jan. 25 with Kathe Falls of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Director of International Trade delivering the keynote address. Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council and president of the International Poultry Council, will address export trends and expectations for poultry in 2012.

Georgia farmers are the largest producers of poultry in the U.S., turning out about 1.3 million birds a year. A growing number of those are for the export market, with farmers breaking records for exports in 2011 and on track to break records in 2012, according to Toby Moore, vice president of communications for the council.The Poultry and Egg Export Council represents 220 poultry processing and trading companies across the United States. The council collaborates with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service to promote U.S. poultry and egg products in 13 foreign countries.

Registration is now open and information about the 2013 Ag Forecast is posted at and on Twitter through @GaAgForecast. For more information, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension office.
Based on original story by Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia