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State ag forecast offered today at Mountains Center

Professionals offer an analysis of Ga. produce

POSTED: January 23, 2011 11:00 p.m.

Policymakers and agribusiness professionals want to know what the future holds for agriculture in Georgia.

During the 2011 Ag Forecast at the Georgia Mountains Center today, University of Georgia agricultural economists and Hall County extension agents will give their view of the year ahead.

"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," said April Sorrow, public relations coordinator for the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.

The 2011 economic forecast is the fifth annual Ag Forecast series held by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Gainesville is the first stop of the five-city tour, which includes Tifton, Statesboro, Carrollton and Macon.

Today's seminar starts at 10 a.m., with a networking luncheon following at noon. Hall County extension workers will explain restructuring of their office now that former extension coordinator Billy Skaggs is the new chief operating officer for the state's Department of Agriculture.

John McKissick, a UGA professor of agricultural marketing, will give the economic outlook. He is the extension economist director and the director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

Other speakers will talk about different aspects of agriculture, specifically focused on sustainable farming. Ken Meter, the executive director of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Minn., 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.," Sorrow said. "His ‘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 ... and directed the public process for the award-winning Minneapolis sustainability plan."

Tim Young, a sustainable farmer in Elberton, will talk about his 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," Sorrow said. "Young sells his products locally through Community Sponsored Agriculture and at several local farmers markets."

Registration is $30 per individual or $200 for a table of eight. For more information and to register, visit www.georgiaagforecast.com.



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