Several Georgia state government organizations will be joining together in the spotlight tent at the upcoming Sunbelt Expo to help recruit for and expand the agribusiness sector of the state’s economy.

The overall goal of the exhibits is ambitious — to boost the state’s economy and bring more Georgians into the active workforce.

These exhibits will be located at B-6 of the exhibit grounds, where spotlight state exhibits were located in previous years.

“Growing Georgia at the Speed of Business” will be the overall theme for the spotlight exhibits, which will offer a one-stop shopping center for anyone seeking to expand agricultural and related business opportunities in the Southeast.

As part of the exhibits, Expo visitors are invited to sample some of the food products grown and manufactured by Georgia-based farms and companies.

Representatives will be available throughout the Expo to pass out samples of their products. For instance, the Georgia Organics organization will be on hand, along with Georgia-based organic farmers and participants of The Flavor of Georgia food product contest.

All these food processors will cast the spotlight on delicious, original food from Georgia to sample. Organizers believe the food samples will provide tasty treats for visitors as well as a great opportunity for these businesses to showcase their products and to help expand name recognition and sales for their food items.

Donnie Smith, a farmer from Coffee County, Ga., who also serves as agriculture liaison to Gov. Sonny Perdue and as director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, says he’s excited about the opportunity Expo presents to expand agribusiness ventures in the state.

“The Sunbelt Expo has done so much for agriculture in this state, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to showcase some Georgia agribusinesses that might not otherwise be represented at Expo.

“Georgia has a lot to offer to agribusinesses and the spotlight exhibits at Expo are a great opportunity for us to highlight the expertise, research and  tremendous economic and natural resource assets that our state has to offer.”

Much of the expertise he speaks of can be found within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, and the organization for encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses and locating new markets for Georgia products.

Several organizations that are part of the Georgia Department of Economic Development will staff the spotlight exhibits. These include the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness; the Center of Innovation for Energy; the Agribusiness, Food Processing, Bioenergy & Logistics Team; the Existing Industry & Regional Recruitment Team; and the International Trade Division.

Sarah Cook, program specialist in the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, is helping coordinate the exhibits.