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February 4, 2012

Georgia ag forecast predicts good year for peanut, pecan growers

COLUMBUS — Georgians can expect to pay more at the supermarket in 2012. This is good news for peanut and pecan farmers who can expect record prices for their crops.

These financial predictions, and more, were presented across the state this week at Georgia Ag Forecast events planned by the University of Georgia, Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

“Consumers can expect to pay more for products like beef, pecans and peanuts as farmers fight drought and increased fuel and fertilizer prices to produce crops and raise animals,” said Kent Wolf, an agricultural economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Farmers paying more to produce crops

Wolf says food prices are also on the rise due to the increased costs of delivering crops to consumers and the rising demand for Georgia crops overseas.

“Commodity prices peaked midsummer for row crops in Georgia and the outlook is that they will remain high, depending on how many acres are planted and what kind of growing season we have,” said CAES ag economist Nathan Smith. “Predictions are for another dry spring and all our best laid plans could be impacted by a continuation of the drought.”

The U.S. dollar is weak, but Smith says this “generally helps Georgia because we have a strong export market.”

Agriculture is the largest industry in Georgia with 65 products and a farmgate value of $12 billion in 2010.

UGA research focused on helping farmers

At the first forecast event, held at the Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon, Ga., CAES Dean and Director Scott Angle told farmers the college is working to help them maximize profits and reduce inputs.

“Whether it’s research on your farm or one of our farms, we are working very hard to solve some of the most pressing problems we have in the state,” Angle said.

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