“In our center, we focus on ag businesses interested in creating innovative products or processes,” she says. “We help companies secure university research grants that can help their businesses. Our main goal is to connect companies with university researchers and identify research that can quickly get their products commercialized.

“We also put them in touch with other experts who can help if they have a need for new markets, new products, additional services, and suppliers.

“For example, we’re currently working with a company in Georgia to secure a research grant for funding energy crop research. The company is interested in a new biomass plant called miscanthus. Some of this research is taking place on the Expo farm this year where a new planting of miscanthus has been established.

“Once the research proves the potential of miscanthus as a high yielding perennial grass for use as a biofuel feedstock for Georgia, our counterparts in the Center of Innovation for Energy will be available to assist in establishing biomass manufacturing plants that can use the miscanthus,” Cook says.

GDEcD’s Agribusiness, Food Processing, Bioenergy and Logistics Team will be at Expo to assist out-of-state companies that may be interested in relocating their ag businesses in Georgia.

The Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment Team will also have an exhibit staffed by project managers aimed at helping current Georgia-based ag businesses expand their operations.

This group is able to help find business locations along with incentives to locate in Georgia communities. For instance, they can identify tax breaks and similar incentives that can help make expansion within the state a profitable venture.

Also during Expo, representatives of GDEcD’s International Trade Division will be on hand to meet with international visitors and international exhibiting companies to introduce them to Georgia-based suppliers of farm equipment and services.

This is also a great source of contact for foreign-based companies seeking to expand their manufacturing, distribution and marketing operations in the Southeast.

The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition runs Oct. 19-21 in Moultrie, Ga.