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Skaggs: Ag Forecast session set Jan. 24 in Gainesville

POSTED: December 16, 2010 1:00 a.m.

With local producers in mind, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has announced its fifth annual Ag Forecast Series. One of the five sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 24 at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville (others are Jan. 25 in Tifton, Jan. 27 in Statesboro, Feb. 9 in Carrollton and Feb. 10 in Macon). A networking lunch will follow.

Producers, policymakers, agribusiness professionals and consumers will hear the 2011 economic outlook for agriculture from UGA agricultural economists. Local speakers will share success stories, and a keynote speaker will offer a broad view on the locally grown movement.

A question-and-answer session will follow the speakers' presentations. Participants will receive a copy of the 2011 Ag Forecast book, which gives a detailed analysis of each major agricultural product, from broilers to blueberries, produced in Georgia.

Ken Meter, the executive director of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, will discuss local food systems in Gainesville. His pioneering work on food systems and the economics of food makes him one of the top food system analysts in the U.S.

Meter's "Finding Food in Farm Country" studies have promoted food networks in 45 regions in 20 states and one Canadian province. He heads the proposal review process for USDA Community Food Projects. An international leader in sustainability measurement, he directed the public process for the award-winning Minneapolis sustainability plan.

Tim Young believes in harmony on his farm. He is a sustainable farmer in Elberton, with a 125-acre farm of pastures and hardwoods. His farm, Nature's Harmony, offers grass-fed Murray Grey and Angus beef, pastured poultry and eggs, free-foraging heritage Ossabaw and Berkshire pork, heritage turkeys, pastured Lamb and organic honey. Young sells his products locally through Community Sponsored Agriculture and at several local farmers markets.

Dr. John McKissick will give the economic outlook. McKissick is a distinguished professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is the extension economist director as well as the director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

Registration for the Gainesville Agricultural Forecast will open at 9:30 a.m. Registration is $30 per individual or $200 for a table of eight. For more information and to register, visit www.georgiaagforecast.com.

(Thanks to April Sorrow, UGA CAES Public Relations Coordinator.)

Billy Skaggs is agriculture agent and county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293.



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