Sam Pardue, dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), will serve as the keynote speaker at the upcoming Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series set for Jan. 22 through Feb. 1. The annual meetings allow UGA agricultural economists to address Georgia’s farmers, lenders and agribusiness leaders about the latest trends and economic conditions in Georgia’s No. 1 industry — agriculture.At the seminar’s six locations across the state — Bainbridge, Carrollton, Lyons, Macon, Tifton and Watkinsville, Georgia — Pardue will discuss how CAES works with Georgia’s agricultural leaders and how the college works to help solve the issues facing rural Georgia.“Perhaps more than ever, the Ag Forecast is needed to assist farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the organizations that support them to plan for the future,” Pardue said. “Uncertainty in weather, commodity prices, trade and access to markets, regulatory policy, and labor creates a challenging environment for Georgia producers. While we cannot predict the future, we can bring all the tools at our disposal to better inform our stakeholders in their decision-making processes.”CAES hosts the Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series every year. Those interested in attending the seminars can register at georgiaagforecast.com. Economists from the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and CAES Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics will present the economic outlook for Georgia’s producers with an emphasis on Georgia’s major commodities.“Ag Forecast provides producers, bankers and agribusiness leaders with a glimpse of what will happen in 2019. It presents data on how conditions in Georgia, the United States and the globe will impact producers here in Georgia,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.Participants will have the opportunity to meet with UGA faculty and UGA Cooperative Extension agents and will leave the meeting with a copy of the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast book. It provides detailed outlooks of the major commodities produced in Georgia from scientists who work on the crop year-round.One topic that’s expected to be on the forefront is how Hurricane Michael will impact the future of Georgia agriculture. The storm devastated south Georgia agriculture on Oct. 10, 2018, causing more than $2.5 billion in crop losses. Since the hurricane moved through Georgia during harvest season, multiple crops were at extreme risk for damage.“The impact from Hurricane Michael will undoubtedly be a hot topic because it impacted a number of commodities in the state with potential global implications,” Wolfe said.Georgia’s cotton crop sustained between $550 and $600 million in losses, classified as immediate damage to commodities grown by Georgia producers. Pecans suffered $100 million in losses to its crop along with $260 million in losses to trees and $200 million in losses to future income. Other crop damages include $763 million in losses to timber, $20 million in losses to poultry houses, and $480 million in losses to vegetables.The 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast series will be held:Tuesday, Jan. 22: Macon, Georgia — Georgia Farm Bureau BuildingWednesday, Jan. 23: Carrollton, Georgia — Carroll County Ag CenterFriday, Jan. 25: Watkinsville, Georgia — Oconee County Civic CenterTuesday, Jan. 29: Lyons, Georgia — Toombs County Agri-CenterThursday, Jan. 31: Bainbridge, Georgia — Decatur County Agricultural CenterFriday, Feb. 1: Tifton, Georgia — Tifton Campus Conference CenterThe Tifton seminar will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast buffet. All of the other seminars will begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a networking lunch.The Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series is presented by UGA CAES and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. For more information on the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast series, visit georgiaagforecast.com or search for #gaagforecast on social media.