The premier poultry show in Atlanta will be a little larger for 2013. The International Production &
Processing Expo will consist of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the American Feed Industry Association and the American Meat Institute working together under one roof at the World Congress Center to meet the needs of their respective clienteles.
The trade show in 2013 will have more than 1,000 exhibitors and 400,000 square feet of exhibit space. In addition to meeting with companies and networking, participants will have opportunities to receive continuing education classes.
It is fitting this show is in Atlanta. Poultry is such a vital part of the agricultural industry that not only directly employs so many, but also supports a bundle of other businesses that would not be located in the area if it were not for the poultry industry.
I was able to attend the trade show this past January and it was well worth it. Meeting with businesses and learning about new and upcoming products, especially on the production side of the poultry industry is important for me in order to keep up with changing technologies.
As a county agent, I do not get involved with the day-to-day management of poultry growers' flocks. That is left up to the decision makers within a respective company.
Each company has its own set of standards they must meet in order to fulfill their obligations to their customers like KFC, Chick-fil-A and Wendy's.
But attending the show allowed me to see new products that would allow growers to become more energy efficient with lighting and heating systems, nutrient management and integrated pest management. I also ran into a good number of producers I know in the North Georgia area.
They were looking for new products they could use to make their jobs easier while still producing a high-quality bird for their contracted companies.
I am looking forward to the 2013 trade show and seeing what is new on the horizon.
Hopefully we will go into next year's show with better feed prices and even stronger markets for north Georgia's No. 1 agricultural commodity.
Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears biweekly on Thursday's Business page and at gainesvilletimes.com.