The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences announces its fifth annual Ag Forecast Series.

The sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 24 in Gainesville, Jan. 25 in Tifton, Jan. 27 in Statesboro, Feb. 9 in Carrollton and Feb. 10 in Macon. A networking lunch will follow each forecast.

Producers, policymakers, agribusiness professionals and consumers will hear the 2011 economic outlook for agriculture from UGA agricultural economists. Local speakers will share success stories, and a keynote speaker will offer a broad view on the locally grown movement. A question-and-answer session will follow the speakers’ presentations.

Participants will receive a copy of the 2011 Ag Forecast book, which gives a detailed analysis of each major agricultural product — from broilers to blueberries — produced in Georgia.

Gainesville, Jan. 24

At the Gainesville session, Ken Meter, the executive director of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Minn., will discuss local food systems. He is one of the top food system analysts in the U.S. His “Finding Food in Farm Country” studies have promoted food networks in 45 regions in 20 states and one Canadian province. He heads the proposal review process for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Food Projects. He directed the public process for the award-winning Minneapolis sustainability plan.

Tim Young will be the guest speaker. He believes in harmony on his sustainable 125-acre farm in Elberton, Ga. His farm, Nature’s Harmony, offers grass-fed Murray Grey and Angus beef, pastured poultry and eggs, free-foraging heritage Ossabaw and Berkshire pork, heritage turkeys, pastured lamb and organic honey. Young sells his products locally through Community Sponsored Agriculture and at several local famers markets.

John McKissick will give the economic outlook. McKissick is a distinguished professor of agricultural marketing at UGA CAES.

The Gainesville session will be held at the Georgia Mountains Center Jan. 24.

Tifton, Jan. 25

Meter will also discuss local food systems at the Tifton session, which will be held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Jan. 25.