The Georgia Department of Agriculture was chosen to give a presentation on its state and local agencies’ coordinated export development efforts during a conference last week in Washington.

The annual conference, Teamwork 2002, was hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and participants included representatives of state agriculture departments, U.S. Export Assistance Centers and other state export agencies.

          Andres Villegas gave the presentation, which was his last as director of marketing and international trade after some four years with the Georgia agriculture department. His position has been assumed by Gregory Higgins.

          “The program we have developed through the Atlanta USEAC is considered the premier example of state and federal agencies cooperating to generate exports for companies in our region,” said Mr. Villegas.

          Georgia’s network of export assistance agencies is unprecedented in its effectiveness for increasing exports, Mr. Villegas told GlobalFax. Joint efforts include Export AG, a training program for Georgia exporters, and a resource library housed at USEAC, he added.

Atlanta USEAC agencies include the Georgia departments of Industry, Trade & Tourism and Agriculture, University of Georgia Business Outreach Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture offices in Atlanta, U.S. Department of Commerce offices in Atlanta and Savannah and the U.S. Small Business Administration here.

All agencies are housed in Atlanta where they have access to shared resources and where personnel can easily interact, Mr. Villegas said.

The Atlanta-based agencies also work closely with the Foreign Agricultural Service offices and attaches overseas, GDITT’s 13 overseas offices, the Southeast U.S. Trade Association and various industry associations to develop new markets for Georgia products, he added.

Mr. Villegas is currently vice president of Valdosta-based timber company, Langdale International.

Contact Mr. Higgins at the Georgia Department of Agriculture at (404) 656-3740 for more information. Mr. Villegas may be reached at (229) 244-0892