2020 Georgia Ag Forecast

By Clint Thompson for CAES News

Jeffrey Dorfman, the state fiscal economist for Georgia and a professor at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), will serve as the keynote speaker for four of the five locations during the 2020 Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series set for Jan. 21 through Jan. 31.

Dorfman will speak in Macon, Lyons, Bainbridge and Tifton, Georgia. Todd Southerland, a senior vice president and food and agribusiness industry manager at SunTrust Bank, will be the keynote speaker and provide a more in-depth poultry outlook in Gainesville, Georgia.

The meetings allow UGA agricultural economists to speak with Georgia farmers, lenders and agribusiness leaders and provide an assessment of the economic outlook for Georgia’s No. 1 industry, agriculture.

“Right now, economic data is mixed with good and bad news for the future of Georgia’s economy. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding regulations and how they will impact farmers, agribusinesses, rural communities and Georgia’s overall economy,” Dorfman said. “It’s important to cut through the noise and focus on the fundamentals.”

Dorfman is a nationally known economist and author, having written three books, most recently, “Economics and Management of the Food Industry.” He’s authored more than 90 academic journal articles and a variety of other articles that have been published in trade publications and popular press. He was elected as a fellow by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in 2013.

Southerland provides commercial banking solutions to organizations in the food and agribusiness sector.

Economists from the CAES Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics will forecast the 2020 growing season for Georgia producers with an emphasis on Georgia’s major commodities, such as cotton, peanuts and corn.

“Ag Forecast is an important opportunity that the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences uses to provide the ag industry with an idea of what it can expect for the upcoming growing season,” CAES Dean Sam Pardue said. “The decisions producers make now will benefit them next year and that’s why these meetings are important every year.”

Adam Rabinowitz, an agricultural economist in the CAES Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, will also be a guest speaker. While predicting markets and providing an accurate account of the future is not an exact science, Rabinowitz said he and other economists will provide information that will position stakeholders statewide to make the best possible decisions.

“We are in a period of great uncertainty in agriculture, with lasting depressed commodity prices, ongoing trade disputes and a continued recovery from natural disasters,” Rabinowitz said. “As a result of these challenges, it is of great importance that agricultural producers and agribusinesses plan for the upcoming growing season.”

The 2020 Georgia Ag Forecast registration fee is $25 per person and includes a meal. The series will be held on the following dates at the locations below:

Tuesday, Jan. 21: Macon — Georgia Farm Bureau Building

Thursday, Jan. 23: Gainesville — Jaemor Farms

Tuesday, Jan. 28: Lyons — Toombs County Agri-Center

Thursday, Jan. 30: Bainbridge — Decatur County Agricultural Center

Friday, Jan. 31: Tifton — UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center

The Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series is presented annually by UGA CAES. For more information on the 2020 Georgia Ag Forecast series and to register, visit

Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.