By Jessica Akins
Georgia’s Rural Center recently completed a two-part project in partnership with UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED) for the Sunbelt Ag Expo. The project consisted of an economic impact report and a strategic plan that work together to tell the story of the Expo currently, and shape the future of the entity.
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is located in Moultrie, Georgia, and is known as “North America’s Premier Farm Show.” The show attracts attendees from across the southeast region, some even traveling from across the country, to engage and learn about agriculture’s latest technology and innovations. Thus, the staff at the Expo saw a need to complete this project in order to continue to fulfill the mission and ensure the strength and longevity of the Expo.
For the first part of the project, CAED faculty completed the quantitative data collection for the economic impact study during the 2019 Sunbelt Ag Expo. Data revealed the Expo has a $16.72 million impact in economic output for a 20-county region in south Georgia. In addition, the study projected a $1.1 million impact on state and local tax revenue during the main event in October each year.
Next, Georgia’s Rural Center staff completed a comprehensive strategic plan to accompany the economic impact assessment. Staff members engaged with key stakeholders of the Sunbelt Ag Expo to gain a clear vision of what the future plans might look like. Many interviews and one survey were conducted during fall 2019. Taking into consideration the qualitative data gathered, the Rural Center compiled key results and worked through short, mid, and long-term goals for the future with objectives to help reach those goals.