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Agricultural Outlook forum
United States Department of Agriculture

Friday, February 20, 2015



Taking a Regional Approach to Promoting Rural Growth
As our marketplace becomes more global, it is important that we use every opportunity to expand and strengthen rural economies so that they remain competitive. The 2014 Farm Bill recognized the importance of regional strategies in promoting economic growth. This session will explore regional strategies and how USDA expects to develop an array of innovative tools and programs to help all regions become sources of growth.
Moderator: Doug O’Brien,Deputy Undersecretary, Rural Development, USDA, Washington, DC

Will Today’s Strategies Produce Prosperity?
How we address economic development challenges affecting growth and prosperity today can change the future landscape. Speaker will discuss how regional economic strategies affect communities and the fundamental strategies behind efforts that work.
Speaker: Emilia Istrate, Director of Research and Outreach, National Association of Counties, Washington, DC  

Innovation & Collaboration: Our Role in Strengthening the Rural Economy
Investment in economic development can encourage business and expand job growth. How do we determine which investments will deliver returns and yield sustainable results? A careful analysis of communities’ strengths, capacity, and vision are critical to developing the assistance and partnerships for success. Find out how EDA addresses rapidly evolving economies.
Speaker: Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, Economic Development Administration (EDA), Department of Commerce, Washington, DC

What Does a Successful Regional Strategy Look Like?
The communities most in need of regional strategies are often those without the resources to develop business plans, investment strategies, efficient and affordable supply chains and cost benefit analyses. Yet, USDA research shows that money spent on food produced locally tends to stay and circulate in the community, expanding the potential for job creation and spurring economic growth. How can a community develop local and regional food systems and acquire the tools and resources to turn disadvantages into benefits?
Speaker: Malini Ram Moraghan, Managing Director, Wholesome Wave Investments, Bridgeport, CT



What’s the Buzz About Bees?
Bees are by far the most important pollinators, from the plant and crop production point of view. The main reason is that they collect pollen to feed their young, unlike butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, etc. So they have to visit enough flowers to collect enough pollen to feed an entire nest, and they have evolved specially designed structures and hairs for this purpose. There are an estimated 3,700-4,000 species of bees native to North America, in addition to the more commonly known honeybee. With the rise of issues such as Colony Collapse Disorder, bee and pollinator health has become a crucial issue for agriculture.
Moderator: Robyn Rose, National Policy Manager, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA, Riverdale, MD  

Bee Diversity & Habitat
Speaker: Sam Droege, Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Beltsville, MD

Diseases & Pesticides Affecting Bee Health
Speaker: Rosalind James, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD    

Bees on the Farm
Speaker: Gordon Wardell, Senior Bee Biologist, Paramount Farming Company, Bakersfield, CA



Climate-Smart Agriculture
William Hohenstein, Director, Office of Global Climate Change, USDA, Washington, DC

Defining Climate-Smart Agriculture
Speaker will focus on technical issues, including the three objectives of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) systems: improving resilience to climate change; improving production and productivity; and addressing greenhouse gas emissions. A technical working group is being formed to identify practices, technologies, and approaches that can make agricultural systems more “climate-smart.”
Speaker: Kerri Steenwerth, Research Soil Scientist, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Davis, CA

Supporting Profitability with Climate-Smart Agriculture
Climate change has already and will continue to alter options for profitable agriculture. This talk will discuss the benefits of integrating the potential consequences of climate change into national agricultural policy, public and private sector research strategies, planning from local to global levels and across landscapes, and on-farm decision making. It will discuss the benefits of linking sustainable agriculture intensification with climate adaptation, resilience, and disaster risk reduction efforts.  The speaker will also address the benefits of incorporating climate-smart agriculture practices into public and private information delivery services for the farming community. 
Speaker: Gerald C. Nelson, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Investments in Climate-Smart Agriculture
Improving the effectiveness of public and private investments is a key pillar of climate-smart agriculture. This talk will address opportunities to encourage public and private investments and options to review their compatibility with climate-smart agriculture principles. The discussion will address options for identifying existing and new sources of financing for climate-smart agriculture; developing methodologies and metrics to guide investment strategies; creating incentives for farmers to adopt climate-smart practices and to invest in practical approaches to climate-smart systems. Practical examples include investments in drought early warning systems and contingency plans in relation to extreme weather events.
Speaker: Marc Sadler, Advisor, Risk & Markets, World Bank, Washington, DC



Sugar Outlook
Moderator: Barbara Fecso, Director, Dairy and Sweeteners Analysis Group, Farm Service Agency, USDA, Washington, DC

Speaker: Larry Faucheux, CEO and General Manager, Louisiana Sugar Refining, LLC, Gramercy, LA

Speaker: Liz Clark, Vice President Government Affairs, National Confectioners Association, Washington, DC

Speaker: Paul Farmer, President, CSC Sugar, New Canaan, CT



Grains & Oilseeds Outlook
Moderator: Patrick Packnett, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Brazil's Response to Lower Commodity Prices: Will Infrastructure Improvements Support Further Expansion?
Speaker: Michael Cordonnier, Soybean and Corn Advisor, Hinsdale, IL,

USDA Grains & Oilseeds Outlook
Speaker: Bill George, Senior Agricultural Economist, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA
Washington, DC

Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR)
Speaker: Troy Joshua, Chief, Environmental, Economics, and Demographics Branch, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, Washington, DC



Adjusting to a New Price Environment: Implications for the Farm & Trade Programs
Moderator: Patrick Westhoff, Director, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), University of Missouri–Columbia, Columbia, MD

USDA Long-Term Commodity Outlook and Price Baseline
The speaker will discuss the implications of lower commodity prices for near-term adjustments in the sector as well and longer term projections for the next decade.
Speaker: Paul Westcott, Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA
Washington, DC

Low Price Impacts on Farm Program Payments and Farm Incomes
Speaker will address programs and commodity prices.
Speaker: Gary Schnitkey, Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

The Global Implications of Prices on International Agricultural Policies
Speaker: Jason Carver, Senior Economist, Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Washington, DC



Antimicrobial Resistance
In the mid 19th century science began to understand how microorganisms caused disease. The modern age of treatment for such diseases was ushered in by Alexander Fleming’s discovery of the antibiotic penicillin in 1928. Perhaps lesser known were his cautions about improper use leading to resistance. Today resistance to whole classes of antibiotics threatens to shrink medicine’s “toolkit.” This session examines the importance of antibiotics to health and agriculture, the challenges posed by resistance, and the actions being taken now and needed for the future to ensure that the benefits of Fleming’s discovery continue.
Moderator: Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD

Agricultural Perspectives
Crops, livestock, and soils all impact and are impacted by the microbial world. The speaker will discuss both the effects of antimicrobial resistance on them as well as the role they may play in addressing antimicrobial resistance.
Speaker: Charles Rice, University Distinguished Professor of Soil Microbiology, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Agri-public Health Interface Infectious Disease, Human Health, and Agriculture
A recent report of the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology provides both an overview of the human and agricultural implications of antimicrobial resistance and sets out a plan for addressing it. The speaker will provide an overview of this holistic approach and the research, policy, and educational roles for agriculture, medicine, and government.
Speaker: Lonnie J. King, Dean and Professor Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Responding to Antimicrobial Resistance
Actions and initiatives by the White House and USDA are beginning to address the broad needs for research, education, and surveillance with regard to the use and stewardship of antimicrobials and for addressing the development and spread of resistance. The speaker will provide an overview of those activities and discuss developing actions in research and education.
Speaker: Steven Kappes, Deputy Administrator, Animal Production and Protection, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD



Weather, Drought & Big Data: The Role of Data in Preparing For & Responding to Drought
The session highlights developments in improving the capability of the agricultural sector to withstand the economic impacts of drought. Since the 1990s, the focus on drought assessment and mitigation has shifted from response to preparation. While many states have plans in place, there is no comprehensive Federal policy preparing for the inevitably of drought. Since 2012, USDA has taken steps to address gaps in the availability of data, products, and services, through strengthened partnerships with NOAA and other Federal partners.
Moderator: Mark Brusberg, Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC

Monitoring Drought at the National Level: National Integrated Drought Information System
Speaker will outline the efforts undertaken to coordinate the Federal response to drought and provide support to communities developing drought mitigation strategies.
Speaker: Roger Pulwarty, Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO

Dealing With Drought at the Regional Level: The California Crisis
Speaker will summarize the current situation in California and highlight the collaborative efforts of Federal, State, and local Governments, as well as NGOs and tribal groups, to establish best practices for all aspects of monitoring, mitigation, and information dissemination.
Speaker: Ryan Velasco, Deputy for Natural Resource Response and Recovery, White House Council on Environmental Quality, Washington, DC

Identifying New Opportunities: Developing a National Soil Moisture Network
Speaker will describe activities underway to develop a National Soil Moisture Monitoring Network.
Speaker: Mike Strobel, Director National Water and Climate Center, Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA, Portland, OR



USDA Cotton Outlook
Moderator: Joanne Vande Werken, Cotton Research Manager, Noble Agri, Houston, TX

The World and U.S. Cotton Outlook for 2015/16
Carol Skelly
, Fibers Analyst, Office of the Chief Economist, Washington, DC

Price and Production Challenges Facing West Texas Cotton Farmers
Speaker: Kelli Merritt, President, CropMark Select, Lamesa, TX

China's Cotton Sector and the New Policy Regime
Speaker: Dale Cougot, General Manager, Knowledge Management, Olam International, Richardson, TX


Livestock & Poultry Outlook
Moderator: Warren P. Preston, Associate Deputy Administrator, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC

USDA Livestock & Poultry Outlook
Speaker: Michael Jewison, Agricultural Economist, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC

Implications of Wildlife Management Property Tax Valuation on Livestock Industry Growth
Speaker: Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist, Agricultural Law, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Amarillo, TX

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Update: Is the Worst Past?
Speaker: Liz Wagstrom, Chief Veterinarian, National Pork Producers Council, Washington, DC


Cotton & Fibers
Moderator: Jose Sette, Executive Director, International Cotton Advisory Committee, Washington, DC

Low Prices and Government Intervention in India: Can Expansion in Cotton Consumption and Trade Be Sustained?
Speaker: Colin Iles, Glencore Cotton Trader, Rotterdam, Netherlands


Sugar & Sweeteners
Moderator: Michael McConnell, Agricultural Economist, Market & Trade Economics, Crops Branch, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Global Trends and Perspectives for Sugar & Ethanol
Speaker: Plinio Nastari, DATAGRO, Brazil


Local Foods
Anne Alonzo, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC

The Growth of Local Foods: Threat or Opportunity?
Nancy Creamer, Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Community Based Food Systems, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC


Grains & Oilseeds Luncheon
Issues Affecting Rail Grain Transportation
Moderator: Robert Johansson, Deputy Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC

Issues Affecting Rail Grain Transportation
John Miller, Vice President, Industrial Products Sales, BNSF Railway, Fort Worth, TX


Livestock & Poultry Luncheon
Structural Consumer Upheaval: How the Meat Sector Can Adapt
Moderator: Joel Greene, Analyst in Agricultural Policy, Resources, Science, and Industry Division, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC

Speaker: Heather L Jones, Managing Director, Food & Agribusiness, BB&TCM Equity Research, Richmond, VA



U.S. Food Waste: What Are We Doing About It?
In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.  This estimate, which is based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of food loss at the retail and consumer levels of 31 percent, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.  This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change.  Speakers will examine some of the activities that USDA and others in the agricultural sector are undertaking to reduce food waste.
Moderator: Elise Golan, Director of Sustainability, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC
Golan will provide an update on the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which USDA launched with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2013

Grades and Marketing Order Standards for Fruit and Vegetables
Speakers will provide an overview of marketing orders and USDA’s grading services along with a discussion of the various outlets, such as food banks, permitted for produce that fails to meet minimum grade or standard, but is still healthful.
Speaker: Michael V. Durando, Director, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA, Washington, DC.

Speaker: Evan Lutz, CEO, Hungry Harvest, Baltimore, MD
Hungry Harvest is a produce delivery and hungry-relief service specializing in surplus produce, including “funny-looking and ugly fruits and vegetables.”

Innovative Technologies Target Food Waste
Speaker will spotlight innovative technologies and systems developed by USDA scientists and others to reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste.
Speaker: Tara McHugh, Research Leader, Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Albany, CA



Modernizing Food Safety
The 2013 FSIS Agricultural Outlook Forum session in part examined upcoming possibilities for far-reaching and revolutionary advances in food safety. This 2015 session re-focuses on that theme and advances it still further. What role can technology and research play? How can FSIS better collaborate with its public health partners in our new world that emphasizes horizontal communication? What vision for modernization can serve as a guide going forward?
Moderator: David Goldman, Assistant Administrator Office of Public Health Science, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, DC

A Vision For Modernization
Speaker: David Goldman, Assistant Administrator Office of Public Health Science, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, DC

Genome Sequencing and Its Prospects for Progress in Food Safety
Speaker: David G. White, Chief Science Officer and Research Director, Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD

Food Safety Through Data Sharing and Socialization
Speaker: Carl Schroeder, Director, Food Safety and Commodity Specification Division, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC



Growing the Bioeconomy
The National Bioeconomy Blueprint ( 2012) noted the importance of the bioeconomy for national security, growth potential, job creation, reduced dependence on oil, and environmental benefits. This session will discuss transitioning to and growing the bioeconomy, provide global perspectives on the bioeconomy, and address moving forward in the 21st century.
Moderator: Cathie Woteki, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, USDA, Washington, DC

Framing the Bioeconomy
This speaker will define, frame or put boundaries on the bioeconomy and will address issues such as: the current size/potential size of bioeconomy; and the benefits and opportunities of transitioning to the bioeconomy.
Speaker: Jonathan Male, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Department of Energy, Washington, DC

The Role of Stakeholders in Transitioning To & Growing the Bioeconomy
The speaker will discuss where we want to transition to, identify key stakeholders in the bioeconomy, and explain their roles in growing the bioeconomy. Stakeholders include the U.S. Government, industry, and landowners.
Speaker: Dennis Hall, Director, Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center
Columbus, OH

Global Perspectives on the Global Bioeconomy
The speaker will present an international dimension and focus on lessons learned and directions and strategies from other countries, and their regions, as they pursue the potential for the bioeconomy.
Speaker: James Philp, Science and Technology Policy Analyst, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France



Moving Feed, Food & Fuel to Market
The session will cover a range of topics on the transportation and logistics of bringing the crop to market. Session speakers will discuss how the transport of agricultural commodities, along with oil, coal, ethanol and other users, fit into the future plans of railroad operators, look at the U.S. barge system and how it impacts agricultural commodities, and give a coop’s perspective on the logistics of handling large crops in terms of storage, marketing, and shipping.
Moderator: Marina Denicoff, Economist, Transportation and Marketing Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service Washington, DC

The Outlook for Railroad Demand
Speaker will discuss a railroad perspective on the demand for rail services and where agricultural commodities, fertilizer, ethanol, coal for rural electric utilities, oil, and intermodal fit into their future plans.
Speaker: John T. Gray, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads

The Logistics and Dynamics of U.S. Barge Transportation
This is a discussion of the logistics and demands of the U.S. barge system and how it services agricultural markets.
Speaker: Ken A. Eriksen, Senior Vice President, Transportation, Industrials and Energy Services, Informa Economics, Inc., Memphis, TN

A Co-op Perspective: Storing, Marketing & Shipping Big Crops  
A Coop perspective on the logistics of handling a large crop, plenty of room for discussion here about how they store, market and ship a “big crop.”
Speaker: Dan Mack, Vice President, Rail, Transportation and Terminal Operations, CHS Inc, St. Paul, MN



Dairy Outlook
Moderator: Roger Cryan, Director, Economics Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC

USDA Dairy Outlook
Speaker: Shayle Shagam, Livestock & Poultry Analyst and ICEC Chair, World Agricultural Outlook Board, USDA, Washington, DC

Dairy Farmers of America's Joint Dairy Venture with the Chinese
: Jay Waldvogel, Senior Vice President, Strategy & International Development, Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, MO

Sourcing Dairy Ingredients from Around the World: The Fonterra Experience
Speaker: Rick Pedersen, Commerical Director, Fonterra (USA), Rosemont, IL