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Skaggs: Food safety among topics at Ag breakfast
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Food safety is a matter of national security, and it’s as personal as the food your family eats. Foodborne illness can make people sick, damage the economy and cause Americans to question our system of food protection.

Food safety experts from the UGA Center for Food Safety, including director Michael Doyle, will deliver the latest food safety updates and pending policy changes at the 2010 Georgia Ag Forecast. UGA economists also will give the annual agricultural economic outlook.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will hold its fourth annual Ag Forecast Breakfast Series from 7:30-10 a.m. Tuesday at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville.

The series also makes stops Monday in Rome, Wednesday in Statesboro, Jan. 28 in Tifton and Jan. 29 in Macon.

Since the 2009 Ag Forecast, economic uncertainty has continued to be the leading headline, which has also presented myriad challenges to those working in agriculture. This year’s event will give Georgians a chance to talk about the past and the future of agriculture and agribusiness.

University of Georgia economists will detail the agriculture economic outlook for the coming year. Experts from the UGA Center for Food Safety will preview pending food safety policy.

"Agricultural and agribusiness professionals face special challenges in 2010," said John McKissick, director of the CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

"Through these five breakfast meetings we’re providing Georgia’s agricultural decision makers the latest 2010 price prospects and possible impacts of the many changes taking place in Washington."

According to the dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Scott Angle, the meetings "are your land-grant university in action, fulfilling its mission that is as important today as it was when first created nearly 150 years ago."

Abraham Lincoln signed the bill establishing the land-grant system, he said, to give all Americans the opportunity to benefit from higher public education through new research, delivery of information or on-campus classes.

Participants will receive a copy of the 2010 Agricultural Price and Profit Planning Book. It provides a detailed analysis of each major Georgia agricultural product.

Georgia Ag Forecast is a University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences program, made possible through an endowment from Georgia Farm Bureau.

Registration costs $40 per person or $300 for a table of eight. For more information or to register, call 706-583-0347 or visit www.Georgia

Billy Skaggs is a Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770-531-6988. His column appears biweekly and at