Peanut grower David Reed, left, of Dooly County, stops by the Bayer CropScience booth and talks with Dick Dowdy, center, and Holly Walker during the Georgia Peanut Farm Show at the Albany Civic Center in this January 2012 file photo.
TIFTON, Ga. — Despite near-record attendance and a cordial, long-term relationship with the City of Albany, the Georgia Peanut Commission has decided to move the Georgia Peanut and Farm Show closer to their new offices in Tifton.
In a letter to city officials, Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission, writes that while the GPC had no problems with Albany hosting the show, that the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus Conference Center had “upped its ante” to bid on hosting the event and the offer was too good for the group to refuse.
“This year was a little different. They upped their ante. They took advantage of our 50th anniversary and took advantage of our new office and facilities which are only a little more than half a mile from the UGA Conference Center. They were more closely competitive this time and possibly would not have lured the committee away in normal circumstances except they appealed to nobler motives of incorporating our new offices and our 50th anniversary into the show,” Koehler wrote.
Koehler wrote that the UGA conference center has agreed to provide several shuttles and trams throughout the day to take show patrons for tours of the GPC’s new offices.
The show is the premier peanut-centric agricultural event in Albany each year. In 2012, more than 1,000 attendees strolled into the Civic Center to view 87 exhibits.
But Koehler hinted that the show’s time in Tifton may be short-lived.
“We sincerely thank you and appreciate all the support the City of Albany and the staff of the Civic Center has provided all these years. You all have been great. After we conclude this coming year’s Georgia Peanut Farm Show in Tifton and this, our landmark year in the history of the Commission, we will be contacting you again next year for a proposal to host our event in January of 2014,” Koehler writes.
The 2013 Farm show is set for Jan.16 and 17 in Tifton.
Each year, the farm show shines a spotlight on peanut farmers and the agricultural industry in the Southeast as a whole.
Emory Murphy, the assistant executive director for the GPC, says that despite the record-setting yields of late, the peanut industry and the GPC is feeling the pain from budgetary cutbacks at the state level.
“Part of our enabling legislation requires us to promote research and education, but that’s getting tougher with the cuts that are happening at the state level,” Murphy said. “In the last 10 years we’ve lost 11 research scientists...the reason we’re having record yields for our crops now is because of the work of those scientists 10, 15 or 20 years ago.”