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Agricultural Outlook forum
United States Department of Agriculture

Thursday, February 19, 2015



Food Price Outlook for 2015
This session will provide the latest perspective on food price inflation, the main factors that contribute to changes in food prices, and the consumer implications of rising food prices.
Moderator: Tim Park, Food Markets Branch Chief, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Outlook for U.S. Food Prices and Inflation in 2015
A presentation of the latest Economic Research Service (ERS) outlook for retail food prices in general and across major food categories, recent historical trends in food expenditure patterns, and the relationship between food prices and inflation in the general economy.
Speaker: Annemarie Kuhns, Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

The View From the Retail Grocery Industry
Willard Bishop Consulting provides business management and strategic consulting services to the retail grocery industry, including solutions related to pricing, promotion, and consumer value. Hauptman runs the firm's retailer services practice and will discuss how commodity price volatility has affected the grocery industry and the firm’s strategies to manage risk and remain price competitive.
Speaker: Jon Hauptman, Partner, Willard Bishop Consulting, Barrington, IL

The Situation and Outlook for the Foodservice Industry
The National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) is the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies, including quick-service and table-service restaurants. This presentation will focus on the challenges of managing costs and the strategies used to maintain affordable, away-from-home meal choices.
Speaker: Rob Green, Executive Director, National Council of Chain Restaurants, Washington, DC



Driving Forces in Changing Global Markets
The Black Sea region, Argentina, and now India have become major suppliers in markets where they had not been dominant before. This session will focus on dynamic trade patterns with special emphasis on new and emerging suppliers.
Moderator: Daniel Basse, President, AgResource Company, Chicago, IL 

The Global Grain Market: Black Sea Region
There has been a major change in world grain markets as exports from the Black Sea Region have increased substantially. Speaker will give a broad perspective on the Black Sea Region, discussing the trends, policies, and prospects for production, logistics, and general climate conditions for grain and the potential impact on U.S. markets.
Speaker: Andrey Sizov Jr., Managing Director, SovEcon, Moscow, Russia

The Global Agricultural Market: Argentina
Speaker will give a broad perspective on the trends, policies, and prospects for production, logistics, and general climate conditions for Argentine agricultural exports and the potential impact on U.S. markets.
Speaker: Alex Wells, Private Consultant, Argentina Trade Policy Issues

The Emergence of India as a Major Global Exporter
Speaker will discuss India’s rapid growth as a huge net exporter, especially to other developing countries, as well as discuss the production trends and policies driving this growth.
Speaker: S. Baskar Reddy, Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation India, New Delhi, India



Using Data & Analytics to Improve Productivity
This session builds on the plenary session led by Secretary Vilsack by showcasing innovative examples of how new tools using Big Data will help producers deal with extreme weather events, higher temperatures, and the need to continually increase production.
Moderator: Cheryl Cook, Chief Information Officer, USDA, Washington, DC

Using Remote Sensing & Risk-Management Tools to Make Informed Decisions
Speaker will address how remote sensing can quantify spatial variation within fields for the application of risk management tools.
Speaker: Jerry Hatfield, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA

A Web Resource for Data & Tools on Climate & Crops:
“” acts as a Web-resource of tools and data on climate and crops that can be used to assist with decisions about the management of agricultural systems in the Southeastern United States. The Web-site can adjust to work seamlessly on PCs, tablets, and smartphones by automatically adjusting the content for the screen of individual devices.
Speaker: Clyde Fraisse, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL

From Field to Globe: The Impact of Location-Centric Big Data Across the Value Chain
Real-time localized agriculturally interpreted weather data supports farmer productivity with viable business information across the value chain. Daily localized weather data, agronomic and economic models, locally tuned applications, and robust data integration services address a range of needs, from field-level operations to worldwide agricultural challenges.
Speaker: John Corbett, CEO and Agricultural Climatologist, aWhere, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wheat Ridge, CO



Water Scarcity: What’s the Biggest Challenge to Sustainable Solutions?
This session combines an overview of today’s growing water scarcity challenges, with a review of immediate responses to address the lack of water, and a look at the barriers to crafting a comprehensive strategy for sustainable solutions. The wrap-up discussion will look at how this plays out at the state and local levels.
Moderator: Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief, Forest Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Current and Future Water Scarcity – A Look at the Challenges & Hard Decisions
Speaker: Tom Brown, Economist, Rocky Mountain Research Station's Social and Economic Values Group, Forest Service, USDA, Fort Collins, CO

Innovations, Technologies, New Partnerships & Market-based Approaches—How These Approaches & Alternative Water Supplies Address Immediate Challenges
Speaker will look at the use of reclaimed water, desalinization potential, toilet to tap, and public-private partnerships.
Speaker: Bobby Cochran, Executive Director, Willamette Partnership, Portland, OR

Who’s the Gorilla in the Room?
What is the biggest obstacle to a comprehensive, sustainable long-term water strategy?
Speaker: James W. Richardson, Regents Professor & AgriLife Research Senior Faculty Fellow
Co-Director Agricultural and Food Policy Center, Department of Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

What Do Scarcity, Alternatives & Comprehensive Strategies Mean for Today’s Efforts to Address Water Challenges?
Speaker: Glenda Humiston, California State Director, Rural Development, USDA
Davis, CA



Tomorrow’s Opportunities
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will convene a panel to discuss the potential of agriculture as a career, and the importance of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. This panel will discuss how we encourage a new generation to participate in agriculture, and how we build the bench for the future of agriculture leadership.
Moderator: Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, USDA, Washington, DC

Speakers: TBD



Farm Income Outlook for 2015
This session will focus on general measures of the financial well-being of the farm economy, including farm household income. It will rely heavily on information generated by the Economic Research Service, USDA.
Moderator: Bill Thomson, Senior Ag Reporter, Politico, Washington, DC

Income Outlook for the U.S. Farm Sector in 2015
A presentation of USDA’s most recent estimates and forecasts of U.S .farm sector value added, net farm income and other financial characteristics for 2015.
Speaker: Kevin Patrick, Economist, Economist Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Farm and Farm Household Income Trends
A discussion about various measures of farm household well-being, including on- and off-farm income, farm typology, farm size, etc. Possibly to include some discussion of farm demographics and structure from the latest USDA AgCensus release.
Speaker: Daniel Prager, Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

A Banker’s Perspective on the Strength of the Farm Economy
A banker’s perspective on the strength of the farm economy.
Speaker: Stephen Gabriel, Chief Economist, Farm Credit Administration, Washington, DC


Growing Markets for U.S. Exports
Global demand for agricultural products is expected to remain strong. This session will explore the growing markets for U.S. exports.
Moderator: Phil Karsting, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Washington, DC

The Future of China Demand & Trade
China drives import growth in Asia. Speaker will discuss the growing importance of livestock and dairy sectors, and supportive or restrictive policies affecting and expanding trade. Gale conducts research and market analysis on China agriculture and international trade as well as the U.S. farm structure, rural economy, and manufacturing employment issues.
Speaker: Fred Gale, Senior Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Expanding Markets for U.S. Horticultural Exports: Tree Nuts
Speaker will discuss the rapid growth of U.S. tree nuts exports (and horticultural exports in general) and the regions where they expect to see the most growth in the next decade.
Speaker: Bill Morecraft, International Sales Manager, Blue Diamond Growers
Baltimore, MD

Opening New U.S. Markets
The speaker will discuss opening new markets for U.S. agricultural products in the context of trade policy.
Speaker: Jason Hafemeister, Chief Negotiator for Trade, Foreign Agriculture Service, USDA Washington, DC



USDA Market News: 100 Years & Counting
Since 1915, the Market News Service has used the latest technology to provide crucial, free market information, leading to more fair, efficient markets, and providing the benefits for farmers and consumers, as the “eyes and ears of American agriculture.” This mission led to today’s agricultural outlook, market information, and economics functions at USDA.
Moderator: Terry Long, Fruits & Vegetables Market News Director, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, and President, Market Information Organization of the Americas

Topic 1: TBD
Speaker: Bob Young, Farm Bureau

Topic 2: TBD
Speaker: Dave Lehman, CME

The Future of Market News
Sharing AMS plans to expand direct delivery through mobile apps and devices, making AMS data more easily integrated with big data, while ensuring wide availability of all first releases; to increase information on local, organic, and farmers markets; and expressing an expansive vision for Market News for the next century.
Speaker: TBD



Can Voluntary Conservation Meet Regulatory Needs?
This session will explore the role of conservation in meeting regulatory requirements on the farm. One of the most important considerations in the feasibility of utilizing voluntary conservation measures to address regulatory requirements and the assurance by the regulator that there will not be additional actions. This “regulatory certainty” may expand voluntary conservation to the level that the regulatory threshold is not reached.
Moderator: Mr. Jason Weller, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, Washintgton, DC

Options for Landowners to Meet Regulatory Needs with Voluntary Conservation
Speaker will give an overview of the alternatives and options of addressing regulatory requirements with voluntary conservation activities. He will describe alternative approaches, including mitigation banking and credit trading, the role of the regulator and markets, and role of conservation practices, and how USDA conservation programs fit into the picture.
Speaker: Chris Hartley, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC

Conservation Programs and Endangered Species Act Predictability
At least 7 species are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where conservation programs serve to provide habitat and landowners with some protection from regulatory action. Speaker will address ESA regulatory requirements and how and where conservation programs are being used and may be used in the future to protect species.
Speaker: Jim Serfis, Chief, Branch of Communications and Candidate Conservation, Ecological Services Program, Fish and Wildlife Service, Falls Church, VA

Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program provides a voluntary approach for agricultural landowners to become certified through a whole-farm evaluation that assesses the operation’s risk to water quality. Farmers receive regulatory certainty for their 10-year certification which stipulates they are in compliance with state laws and rules. This program is the first in the nation using regulatory certainty to address non-point source pollution.
Speaker: Matthew Wohlman, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, St. Paul, MN



Nutrition Programs & New Opportunities for Producers
This session will discuss current nutrition promotion initiatives with an eye to their potential impact on the agricultural markets, including an increased focus on local purchasing through farmers’ markets and other venues, and explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership between the agriculture sector and public and private health promotion agencies.
Moderator: Cindy Long, Deputy Administrator, Child Nutrition, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, Washington, DC

The Role of Nutrition Assistance Programs & Impacts on Agricultural Markets
Speaker will discuss the role and impacts of the nutrition assistance programs in U.S. agricultural markets, and potential demand effects of shifting to a food supply that more closely conforms to the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Speaker: Ephraim Leibtag, Senior Economist, Food Economics Division, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC.

The Changing Needs of School Districts as Consumers
Speaker will address the changing needs of school districts as consumers.
Speaker: Marla Caplon, Director of Food and Nutrition Service, Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Schools, Rockville, MD

How Is Industry Responding to New Nutrition Standards?
Speaker will address how the industry is responding to new standards (especially meals and Smart Snacks), and how these will drive future marketplace change.
Speaker: Kate Houston, Director, Federal Government Relations, Cargill, Inc., Washington, DC