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PM Friday, February 22nd

USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum

PM Friday, February 22

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Track: Conservation

Conserving America’s Agricultural Landscape
Session will discuss lands that are too erosive to be cultivated, have greater value in lower intensity production, offer extraordinary water quality benefits, or provide essential wildlife habitat. A fundamental question for agriculture is how much land fits these descriptions, and should not be part of the stock of cultivated land either because of its vulnerability, its role in protecting waterways, or the habitat provided.
Moderator: Otto Doering, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Soil Erosion and Continuing Agricultural Productivity
Speaker will address those lands that cannot be cultivated over the long term due their soil quality, erosiveness, climate or other conditions. The speaker will examine the tension between expanding global food demand and the ability to maintain long-term productivity.
Speaker: Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group, Ames IA

Buffers, Filters, and Wetlands to Expand Sustainable Cultivation
Runoff from agriculture can degrade water quality. The speaker will address the extent that improved practices can reduce agricultural runoff in order to reach water quality goals.
Speaker: Mark Tomer, Soil Scientist, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ames, IA

The Conservation Landscape and Wildlife
The speaker will address how USDA conservation programs that remove lands from cultivation and apply conservation practices on lands remaining in cultivation have been an important element on landscapes that have stabilized wildlife populations after several decades of precipitous decline.
Speaker: Art Allen, U.S. Geological Survey Emeritus, Wildlife Biologist, Fort Collins, CO

Track: Managing Risks

Risk Management for Small & Socially Disadvantaged Farmers
Small and disadvantaged farmers do not account for a major share of commercial agricultural production, but they do represent a significant share of farmers in rural America. A second speaker will specifically identify some of the risks this group faces, the need to manage those risks for longer term viability/sustainability, and the role of the public sector (USG). A third speaker will discuss the resources available to assist small and disadvantaged farmers in coping with risk.
Moderator: Bill Hoffman, Program & Analysis Officer, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Washington, DC

Stand Up and Be Counted: Profile of the Small & Disadvantaged Farmers
Speaker: Hubert Hamer, Chair, National Agricultural Statistics Board, USDA, Washington, DC

Identification of the Risks Faced By, the Needs of, and the Role of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) to Small and Disadvantaged FarmersFarmers
Speaker: Omar Garza, Chairman, Texas/Mexico Border Coalition, Santa Elena, TX

Resources Available to the Small and Disadvantaged Farmer
Speaker: Albert E. Essel, Associate Dean, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Related Sciences Delaware State University, Dover, DE

Track: Energizing Rural Economies   

Energizing Rural Economies
Expanding capital available for rural investment delivers the tools and technologies to meet energy, telecommunications, and business needs to help our economy grow. Rural Development programs and services can help rural consumers increase productivity, efficiency and innovation, which can expand domestic and foreign markets, reduce costs, and help diversify and strengthen rural economies.
Moderator: John Padalino Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, USDA, Washington, DC

How New Energy Investment Benefits Rural Communities
Overview of the new rule to allow Rural Utilities Service borrowers to invest in energy efficiency programs.
Speaker: Nivin Elgohary, Assistant Administrator, Rural Utilities Service Electric Program, USDA, Washington, DC

Blueprint for a Successful Energy Efficiency Program in Rural Communities
Examples of rural electric cooperatives’ energy efficiency projects for commercial and residential consumers, and how they have contributed to rural economic growth.
Speaker: Tom Van Paris, Vice President, Member Services & Communications, Hoosier Energy, Bloomington, IN

Looking Ahead: What Can Rural Areas Expect From a New Rule to Finance Energy Efficiency?
Looking down the road, what can rural communities, business and residential consumers, as well as farmers and ranchers, expect with a new regulation to support rural electric cooperative utility investment in energy efficiency programs in place.
Speaker: Martin Lowery, Chief Operating Officer, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Arlington, VA

Track: Weather Outlook

Weather Outlook for 2013

2012 Weather Review
The drought of 2012 was a multi-billion dollar agricultural disaster in the United States on par with the drought of 1988, which, according to the National Climatic Data Center, caused $77.6 billion in mostly agricultural losses.  Historically, the U.S. drought of 2012 attained similar coverage to the U.S. drought of the 1950s, although the 1950s. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), nearly two-thirds (65.45 percent) of the continental U.S. was considered to be in drought on September 25, the date of peak coverage.  Including Alaska and Hawaii, U.S. drought coverage reached 54.77 percent on September 25.  Both numbers represented records during the 13-year history of the USDM.  
Speaker: Brad Rippey and Eric Luebehusen, Agricultural Meteorologists, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC

VegScape:  A NASS Web Service-based U.S. Crop Condition Monitoring System
Since 1995 NASS has provided qualitative vegetation condition indices to USDA policymakers and the public on a biweekly basis during the growing season. A new vegetation condition portal called VegScape delivers Web-service based interactive vegetation indices that enable quantification of U.S. crop conditions for exploring, visualizing, querying, and disseminating via interactive maps. Vegetation indices like NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and mean, median, and ratio comparisons to prior years are constructed for analytical purposes and on-demand crop statistics.
Speaker: Rick Mueller, Head, Spatial Analysis Research Section, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Outlook for the 2013 Growing Season
For more than half of the contiguous United States, drought is ongoing and remains near the top of the list of agricultural concerns as the 2013 growing season approaches. Drought concerns have also shifted into the hydrological realm, with low water levels in the Mississippi River basin among the continuing water-supply issues. The National Weather Service (NWS) will provide a window into its latest forecast methodology for the spring and summer of 2013.
Speaker: Anthony Artusa, Climate Prediction Center, National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction, College Park, MD

Track: Commodity Outlooks

Dairy Outlook
Moderator: Randy Schnepf, Specialist in Agricultural Policy, Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC

USDA 2013 Outlook for Dairy
Speaker: Jerry Cessna, Senior Agricultural Economist-Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Prospects for Dairy Policy in 2013
Speaker: Scott Brown, Agricultural Economist, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Missouri, columbia, MO

International Dairy Outlook 2020: A Fonterra View
Speaker: Anand Rao, General Manager, Technical Services, Fonterra USA Inc., Rosemont, IL