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2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum Program

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8:00 - 10:15 a.m. Opening Session
8:00 - 8:10 a.m. Welcome: Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh
8:10 - 8:45 a.m. 2023 Agricultural Economic & Foreign Trade Outlook: USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer
8:45 - 9:10 a.m. Keynote Address: USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack
9:10 - 10:15 a.m. Workers and the Workforce: Essential Contributors to American Agriculture
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Plenary Panels
Plenary Panels: Building a Prosperous Rural America

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is building agricultural and rural economies from the bottom-up and middle-out. When economies work for all Americans, producers, small businesses, and rural communities reap the benefits and families have the tools and opportunity to build a good life in the communities that they love. These panels will explore why and how the USDA is creating opportunity and building wealth in rural America through historic investments such as the landmark Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program and American Rescue Plan investments in a more resilient food supply chain. Through the stories of work underway across the country, panelists will share how they are taking action to tackle climate change, create more and better markets for agricultural producers, increase competition, add value, and create new revenue streams for producers and their communities.

10:45 - 10:50 a.m. Opening Remarks: USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small
10:50 - 11:20 a.m. Creating Value and Economic Opportunity Through Climate Smart Commodities
  • Moderator: Gloria Montaño Greene, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, USDA, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer, Soil Health Institute
  • John Piotti (PDF, 249 KB), President, American Farmland Trust
  • Cornelius Blanding (PDF, 120 KB), Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Tom Ryan, President, Truterra LLC, A Land O' Lakes Company
11:25 - 11:55 a.m. Strategies for More and Better Markets
  • Moderator: Jenny Lester Moffitt, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA
  • Amanda Beal (PDF, 225 KB), Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture
  • Farmer Gale, Organic Producer
  • Paul Neubauer (PDF, 154 KB), Pres. Cottonwood Local, Montana Farmer's Union; Board Chair, Montana Premium Processing Cooperative; Farm Operations Foreman, Vilicus Farms
12:00 - 1:15 p.m. Data Visualization Session

TRACK: Virtual Session (available on the virtual platform)
Data Visualizations at USDA
As a fact-based, data-driven, customer-focused organization, USDA is increasingly leveraging its vast administrative and programmatic data. This session featured a variety of ways USDA is using data visualizations to describe key findings effectively, helping to make the data more accessible and transparent to new and current data users.
Moderator: Joe Parsons , Director, Methodology Division, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Washington, DC
ERS Domestic Baseline Visualization Tool Tutorial
This presentation showed attendees how to effectively use and download data from the domestic baseline’s visualization tool.
Speaker: Matthew Miller, Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, Kansas City, MO
Using Google Earth Engine to better monitor our nation's agricultural lands
A discussion of NASS planetary scale computing for crop mapping, monitoring, and disaster assessments.
Speaker: Rick Mueller, Section Head, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Washington, DC
Visualizing NRCS Conservation Data
Demonstration of outline tools to filter, visualize, and download NRCS conservation program data.
Speaker: Roger Claassen, Natural Resource Specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington, DC
Interactive data dashboards for complex survey data: the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Goat 2019 Dashboard
The evolution of NAHMS data products from PDF reports to dashboards, with a product demonstration of the NAHMS Goat 2019 interactive Tableau dashboard.
Speaker: Matthew Vuolo, Mathematical Statistician, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Washington, DC

The Forests have Spoken: Accessing the Nation’s Forest Resources Data and Empowering Decision Making
To better meet customer needs in a data-rich world, the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program is reorienting analysis and knowledge delivery stemming from forest inventories.
Speaker: Chris Oswalt, Research Forester, United States Forest Service, Washington, DC

1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Concurrent Breakout Sessions

TRACK: Food Price Outlook
The U.S. Food Price Outlook and Food Security
This session discussed recent trends and forecasts in retail and wholesale food markets. Food prices are of intense interest to USDA stakeholders, especially during this prolonged period of inflation. Accurate information on food price trends better informs policy, industry, and the public and aligns with one of USDA’s key Strategic Goals: Provide All Americans Access to a Safe, Nutritious and Secure Food Supply.
Moderator: Spiro Stefanou, Administrator, Economic Research Service USDA, Washington, DC
Food Price Outlook
This presentation covered the recent history of retail food price inflation, dive deeply into price changes from the pandemic and related complications, international conflicts, and the 2022 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak.
Speaker: Matthew MacLachlan, Research Economist, Economic Research Service,USDA
Slides (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Retail food price outlook—an exploration of trends in U.S. consumer food-at-home purchases
This presentation focused on how the American consumer is spending their retail food dollars under a rapidly changing food price environment, and how these patterns are expected to change through 2023.
Speaker: Andrew Harig, Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, VA
Slides (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Food price inflation and food insecurity
This presentation focused on the real-world impacts of increases in food prices on both consumers and charitable organizations that help meet the needs of those facing food insecurity.
Speaker: Emily Engelhard, Managing Director of Thought Leadership, Feeding America, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 6.0 MB)

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
U.S. Administration's Perspective on Agricultural Trade

In this session, panelists discussed U.S. agricultural trade policy priorities and efforts to grow foreign markets in an ever-changing global environment with a focus on the latest developments impacting U.S. agricultural trade, including USDA’s priorities and initiatives going forward.
Moderator: Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, USDA, Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Washington, DC
U.S. Agricultural Exports: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
Ambassador McKalip and Under Secretary Taylor discussed the Biden Administration’s agricultural trade priorities and initiatives supporting sustainable trade and market expansion and increasing global food security.
Speaker: Doug McKalip, Ambassador, U.S. Agricultural Chief Negotiator, U.S. Office of the Trade Representative, Washington, DC
Speaker: Alexis Taylor, Under Secretary, USDA, Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Washington, DC

TRACK: Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions
Transportation & Global Supply Chain Disruptions

Geopolitics, China’s reopening economy, climate change, as well as shortages of labor, commodities, and energy, continue to inject strain and uncertainty that challenge supply chains. This session focused on factors behind the volatility in shipping rates, delivery times, changes in commodity flows, storage and stockholding, buyer-seller relations, and implications for agricultural markets.
Moderator: Adam Sparger, Director, Transportation Services Division, Transportation & Marketing Program, AMS, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 480 KB)

Global Freight Market and Challenges to Supply Chains
The current status of global sea logistics including cargo volume, congestion, rates, labor and government activities, and a look into the future of the industry.
Speaker: William Rooney, Vice President for Strategic Development, Kuehne & Nagel, Inc., Jersey City, NJ
Slides (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Economic and Geopolitical Changes Impacting Logistics of the Global Supply Chain for Bulk Grains
Major supply chain changes that affect the global bulk grain trade, including increases in rail and barge shipping costs, shifting commodity flows and risk and geopolitical developments.
Speaker: William W Wilson, North Dakota State University, University Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics, CHS Endowed Chair in Risk and Trading, Fargo, ND
Slides (PDF, 3.7 MB)

Extreme Weather and Its Impact on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Farm Production
Impacts of flash floods, winter storms and other extreme weather on U.S. crop export infrastructure, production, transportation costs, and price spreads between export and farm.
Speaker: Wyatt Thompson, Professor, University of Missouri, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Columbia, MO
Slides (PDF, 1.9 MB)

TRACK: Climate Mitigation & Adaptation
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities: Testing and Developing New Markets

This session highlighted four awarded Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects. Project leads discussed the need for market development to meet consumer demand for climate-smart agricultural products, analysis of the estimated premiums on goods to enter these markets, the on-farm activities needed to supply climate-smart markets, and the projected greenhouse gas benefits.
Moderator: Katina Hanson, Acting Senior Advisor for Climate-Smart Commodities, FPAC, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 864 KB)

The Climate-Smart Agriculture Innovative Finance Initiative
This project, led by Field to Market and covering more than 30 States, will use innovative finance mechanisms to accelerate climate-smart practice uptake by farmers, leveraging private sector demand to strengthen markets for climate-smart commodities
Speaker: Scott Herndon, President, Field to Market, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 2.8 MB)

Scaling Methane Emissions Reductions and Soil Carbon Sequestration - A Value-Added Commodities Approach for United States Dairy
Through this project, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) climate-smart pilots will directly connect on-farm greenhouse gas reductions with the low-carbon dairy market opportunity.
Speaker: Hansel New, Director of Sustainability Programs, Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, KS
Slides (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Recognizing the Role of Buffalo Production as a Climate-Smart Commodity
Partners plan to distribute project funding to 76 Tribes to incentivize their use of climate-smart practices related to buffalo herds. The Tribal Buffalo Market Initiative will assist Tribes in marketing their buffalo as a climate-smart commodity.
Speaker: Troy Heinert, Executive Director, Intertribal Buffalo Council, Rapid City, SD
Slides (PDF, 18.2 MB)

TRACK: Frontiers in Agriculture
Agricultural Biotechnology - New Horizons for Consumers and Producers

This session focused on USDA’s commitment and accomplishments in strengthening U.S. leadership in biotechnology research and development for agriculture, and in regulating science-based products that enhance farm production and protection, including regulatory issues associated with these technologies.
Moderator: Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics , USDA, Washington, DC

Broad industry perspective on the White House Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation
Speaker: Tom Adams, Co-Founder, CEO, Pairwise, Durham, NC
Slides (PDF, 3.4 MB)

USDA perspective on the White House Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation.
Speaker: Bernadette Juarez, Deputy Administrator, APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Service, USDA, Riverdale, MD
Slides (PDF, 2.2 MB)

USDA research investments and programs supporting the White House Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation
Speaker: John Erickson, National Program Leader, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Kansas City, MO
Slides (PDF, 611 KB)

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Concurrent Breakout Sessions

TRACK: Food Price & Farm Income Outlooks
U.S. Farm Income Forecast and the State of the Farm Economy
In this session presenters looked at the short-run outlook for U.S. farm sector income and discuss agricultural credit conditions and issues. They also examined factors affecting farmland values and rental rates.
Moderator: Roger Cryan, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC
USDA Farm Income Forecast
A presentation on the latest USDA farm sector income and wealth forecasts through 2023 for the U.S.
Speaker: Carrie Litkowski, Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA,Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Agricultural Credit Conditions
A look at recent trends and issues affecting agricultural lending and credit conditions.
Speaker: David Oppendahl, Policy Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Slides (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Farmland Values and Rental Rates
Farmland values have experienced a remarkable surge across much of the country during the past year. This presentation looked at what factors have affected farmland values and rental rates and the future outlook.
Speaker: Bruce Sherrick, Professor and Director, TIAA Center for Farmland Research, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL
Slides (PDF, 5.7 MB)

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine and its Impact on Global Agricultural Production, Trade, and Food Security
During the session, panelists discussed the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global agricultural production and trade, with focus on disruptions to grain and oilseed markets, any compounding effects of already high world prices, and other consequences for global agricultural production and food security, how the international markets have responded, and what lies ahead.
Moderator: Shawn Arita, Senior Economist, USDA Office of the Chief Economist, Washington, DC

The View from Ukraine
Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi offered a first-hand account of the challenges Ukraine’s agricultural sector faces as Russia’s war on his country enters its second year.

Speaker: Mykola Solskyi, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, Ukraine (via video)

The Ukraine-Russia War: A Shock to the Global Trading System
Administrator Whitley discussed the current Ukraine-Russia geopolitical situation, FAS’s views on the resilience of the global agricultural production and trading system, and USDA initiatives to support global food security efforts.
Speaker: Daniel Whitley, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Washington, DC
Global Ag Commodity Markets: Is There Hope for Stability?
Dr. Glauber discussed the global agricultural commodity production and trade situation and the war’s impact on agricultural markets vis-à-vis already existing developments such as high commodity and farm input prices, extreme weather events, etc.
Speaker: Joseph Glauber, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1.3 MB)

The Impact of the War on Global Food Security
Ms. Welsh described the impact of the war on global food security, focusing on challenges facing the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. She discussed lessons learned and international trade actors response.
Speaker: Caitlin Welsh, Director, Global Food Security Program, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC

TRACK: Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions
Fertilizer Availability and Price Volatility -- Implications for Production Costs, Consumer Prices, and Food Security
This session addressed several issues related to the recent increased volatility in the fertilizer markets. The implications from this volatility include: increased costs for producers, potentially reduced yields due to use of poorer substitutes, higher prices for consumers, and increased pressure on food security.
Moderator: Pete Riley, Former Agricultural Economist, Farm Production and Conservation Business Center, USDA,  Arlington, VA
Fertilizer Availability and Affordability Internationally
The presentation explored the interconnected and volatile markets in the international fertilizer markets and provide an outlook for the medium term.
Speaker: Laura Cross, Director Market Intelligence Service, International Fertilizer Association, London, England
Slides (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Fertilizer Availability and Affordability in the United States
The presentation explained what the volatile markets for fertilizer in the United States may mean for production practices along with possible implications for yields, soil health, and the environment in the United States.
Speaker: Josh Linville, Vice President of Fertilizer, StoneX, Kansas City, MO
Slides (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Implications of Fertilizer Market Volatility for Food Security
The presentation provided an explanation of what the volatile market situations in fertilizer supply and demand may mean for domestic and global food security.
Speaker: Hope Michelson, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Slides (PDF, 28.7 MB)

TRACK: Climate Mitigation & Adaptation
Drought, Water Supply, and Western Agriculture

Drought has significant consequences for communities and ecosystems, reducing crop yields and increasing the frequency of wildfires. This session brought together experts in climate change and Western agriculture to discuss current and future challenges with agricultural water supply and the potential negative economic implications of drought and diminished water supplies.
Moderator: Nicholas Potter, Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA
Slides (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Drought frequency and projections and the impacts of drought on agriculture in the western U.S.
Dr. Luce discussed the historical and projected changes to climate and surface water flows that are contributing to the increased frequency and severity of drought in the western US. Dr. Luce also highlighted implications for agricultural water supplies.
Speaker: Charles Luce, Research Hydrologist, Forest Service, USDA
Slides (PDF, 12.6 MB)

Federal Programs to enhance drought resiliency
Dr. Fuchs discussed recent drought in the U.S. and efforts to enhance drought resiliency through Federal programs.
Speaker: Brian Fuchs, Geoscientist / Climatologist, National Drought Mitigation Center, NE
Slides (PDF, 7.8 MB)

Responding to water scarcity in the western U.S. -- Needs and Strategies
Mr Willardson discussed the impacts of water scarcity on irrigators and strategies for responding to water shortages, including trends in water transfers and Western States Water Council efforts to streamline the sharing of water data.
Speaker: Tony Willardson, Executive Director, Western States Water Council
Slides (PDF, 11.2 MB)

TRACK: Frontiers in Agriculture
Innovations In Bringing Renewable Energy Opportunities to Rural Communities   

Climate change is having significant negative impacts on rural communities, agriculture, as well as rural business. This panel focused on how USDA and its private sector partners work with businesses and agriculture producers to address climate change through installation of renewable energy and energy-efficient solutions, providing economic opportunities to agriculture producers and rural businesses.
Moderator: Karama Neal, RBCS Administrator, Rural Development, USDA, Washington, DC
Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
Inflation Reduction Act substantially increased funding opportunities under the REAP program. Discussion on how REAP assists rural small businesses and agricultural producers in the installation of renewable energy and energy efficient equipment.
Speaker: Deborah Yocum, Business Loan and Grant Analyst, Rural Development, USDA, Beatrice, NE
Slides (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Renewable Energy - Solar Industry and Application for Agriculture Producers
Speaker: Corey Ramsden, Solar United Neighbors, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 5.1 MB)

Creating Climate Change Solutions
The speaker discussed how environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together by putting sustainability principles into practice. 
Speaker: Andy Olsen, Sr. Policy Advocate, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Chicago, IL
Slides (PDF, 3.7 MB)

5:15 - 6:15 p.m. Reception with USDA Women Leaders
6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Dinner Speaker

Dr. Karen M. St. Germain, Earth Science Division Director, NASA

8:30 - 9:30 a.m. Morning Plenary

Transatlantic Engagement on Agricultural Sustainability
As two of the world’s largest agricultural producers and exporters, the United States and the European Union share many common challenges yet have often differed in their approaches to agricultural policy, regulation, technology, and trade. Secretary Vilsack and EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski engaged in a conversation about how domestic policies and transatlantic cooperation can help address the challenges facing global agriculture.
Moderator: Shari Rogge-Fidler (PDF, 115 KB)

Panelist: USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack
Panelist: EU Ag Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski

10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Concurrent Breakout Sessions 

TRACK: Commodity Outlook
Grains and Oilseeds Outlook

The session included presentations on USDA's preliminary supply and demand forecasts for 2023/24 for grains and oilseeds and a discussion of the key factors impacting the outlook.
Moderator:  Jen Bond, Deputy Director for Outlook and Staff Analysis, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

USDA Grains and Oilseeds Outlook
Speaker: Andrew Sowell, Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1002 KB)

Speaker: Scott Gerlt, Chief Economist, American Soybean Association, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Weather Outlook For Grains and Oilseeds
Speaker: Mark Brusberg, Chief Meteorologist, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 10.1 MB)

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
Foreign Investment in U.S. Agriculture

This session addressed the current state of Foreign Investment in U.S. Agricultural Land and Businesses, the recommendations of experts to address economic and security concerns, and implications of proposed legislative changes.
Moderator: Clayton Michaud, Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA, Kansas City, MO
Slides (PDF, 411 KB)

State Restrictions of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land and Recent Proposals
Mr. Brown discussed the laws enacted in fourteen States that limit or restrict certain foreign investors from purchasing or owning an interest in farmland within their State.
Speaker: Micah Brown, Staff Attorney, The National Agricultural Law Center--University of Arkansas, Van Buren, AR
Slides (PDF, 2.0 MB)

Foreign Interest in U.S. Agricultural Land
Dr. Taylor presented an econometric analysis of foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land using AFIDA data.
Speaker: Mykel Taylor, Associate Professor, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Slides (PDF, 2.0 MB)

Congressional Actions and Proposals Regarding Foreign Investment in the U.S. Food and Agriculture Sector
Ms. Johnson discussed the range of Federal actions and legislative proposals by the U.S. Congress to address foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land and foreign investment in the U.S. food and agriculture sector.
Speaker: Renee Johnson, Specialist in Agricultural Policy, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1.3 MB)

TRACK: Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions
Competitive, Open and Resilient Meat and Poultry Sectors: Opportunities and Challenges

This session explores USDA and State investments in livestock processing capacity expansion to assist small/mid-sized, local/regional, and historically underserved firms. The session addressed the widespread use of supply contracts focusing on policies to increase market transparency, competitiveness, and robustness of cash transactions to provide producers with new and better market opportunities.
Moderator: Andrew Green, Senior Advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA, Washington, DC
Diversification in the food supply chain through funding meat and poultry processing capacity expansion
Ms. Arthur discussed improving small farmer/rancher access to processing in underserved areas, with significant funding through State agencies. She focused on livestock market transparency, competitiveness and supply chain challenges from the pandemic and other factors.
Speaker: Blayne Arthur, Secretary, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma City, OK, and former Chair, NASDA Animal Agriculture Committee
Slides (PDF, 31.8 MB)

Small business perspective on the livestock market and USDA investment in food system transformation
Small meat processing plant owner spoke about the impact of USDA and State investments on their ability to expand capacity in local and regional markets. She shared their experience with participating in grant and/or lending programs.
Speaker: Katie Kramer, Owner, Hurdwell LLC, Arlington, OH
Cattle market structure and new market opportunities
The speaker focused on how cattle market structure affects producers’ ability to benefit from new market opportunities in meat processing. Explore Federal/State policy initiatives to address livestock sector concerns over market transparency and price discovery.
Speaker: Dr. Brooke Miller, Past President, US Cattleman's Association, Washington, DC

TRACK: Climate Mitigation & Adaptation
Climate-Smart Forest-Related Practices

Integrated farm and forest cover are common in many landscapes. By using forest-related practices, producers can increase climate resilience and add value to agricultural operations. This session shared key concepts in agroforestry, carbon markets, and biochar production and use, exploring practice benefits, resources to support implementation, and lessons learned in practice uptake.
Moderator: Linda Heath, Acting Deputy Chief, Research and Development, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC
Agroforestry for Resilience, Prosperity, and Vitality on Agricultural Lands
Trees can enhance agricultural productivity and increase climate resilience. The benefits of agroforestry can be realized by research and by helping farmers develop enterprise budgets, navigate cost-share programs, and share best practices.
Speaker: Keefe Keeley, Executive Director, Savanna Institute, Madison, WI
Slides (PDF, 15.4 MB)

Leveraging the Power of Carbon Markets on Family Forests
Family forests can contribute to climate mitigation but have been sidelined due to complexity. Innovative solutions allow family forests to tap into markets, enhancing carbon sequestration while helping forest landowners realize new revenue streams.
Speaker: Christine Cadigan, Executive Vice President, Carbon Origination, American Forest Foundation, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Using Biochar Technologies to Improve Soil Productivity and Soil Health at the Farm Scale
Biochar increases soil organic matter and improves the water retention and nutrient carrying capacity of soils. New technologies that convert low-value wood waste to biochar can reduce wildfire risk and facilitate biochar application on farmlands.
Speaker: Tom Miles, Executive Director, U.S. Biochar Initiative, Portland, OR
Slides (PDF, 14.2 MB)

TRACK: Commodity Outlook
Sugar Outlook

The session included presentations on USDA's preliminary supply and demand forecasts for 2023/24 for sugar and sweeteners and a discussion of the key factors impacting the outlook.
Moderator: Barbara Fecso, Commodity Analysis Branch Chief, FPAC-BP, Washington DC, DC
Challenges Facing the U.S. Beet Sector
Speaker: Nate Hultgren, President, American Sugar Beet Association, Raymond, MN
Slides (PDF, 8.3 MB)

The Domestic Cane Sugar Perspective
Speaker: Lonnie Champagne, General Manager, Sugar Growers and Refiners, INC., Breaux Bridge, LA
Slides (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Trends in Sugar-Containing Product Imports
Speaker: Alex Smith, Analyst, Agralytica, Alexandria, VA
Slides (PDF, 894 KB)

12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.  Concurrent Lunchtime Sessions 

TRACK: Luncheon
Cotton & Fiber
Lorena Ruiz, Economist, International Cotton Advisory Comittee, Washington, DC
Farm Policy and Industry Issues Update
The 2023 Farm Bill cycle comes as U.S. agriculture and cotton respond to the increased volatility that characterizes the 21st century global economy, and the evolving trends that raising production costs and shifting world demand and competition.
Speaker: Jody Campiche, Vice President, Economics and Policy Analysis, National Cotton Council, Cordova, TN
Slides (PDF, 2.2 MB)

TRACK: Luncheon
Grains & Oilseeds

Joe Cooper, Senior Policy Advisor, USDA/OCE, Washington, DC
Farm Policy Outlook for the Commodity Sector
Speaker: John Newton, Chief Economist for the Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 678 KB)

TRACK: Luncheon
Livestock & Poultry

Lance Honig, Chief of Crops Branch, USDA-NASS, Washington, DC
Alfalfa & Forage Dynamics in the Current Agricultural Landscape
Speaker: Robin Newell, Global Alfalfa Products Director, S&W Seed Company
Slides (PDF, 4.5 MB)

TRACK: Luncheon
Specialty Lunch Bee Healthy and Climate Smart

Climate change poses a threat to honey bees and other pollinators. This session focused on two parasitic pests of honey bees, the Varroa mite and the Tropilaelaps (Tropi) mite, the top causes of honey bee mortality worldwide. Will climate change make them worse, mitigate their effects, or are they blind to climate change? The speaker&nbsp explored these questions  from an international perspective.
Moderator: Elizabeth (Izzy) Hill, USDA Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Coordinator, USDA, Office of the Chief Scientist, Washington, DC
Pollinator Pandemic - Climate Blind?
The cosmopolitan, parasitic Varroa mite is the most destructive honey bee pest in the United States. If the Tropi mite invades, will it be even more destructive? Will climate change have any affect on that outcome? Do we have remedies?
Speaker: Sammy Ramsey, Marvin Caruthers Endowed Chair of Entomology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO

TRACK: Luncheon
Sugar & Sweeteners
Dylan Daniels, Senior Policy Adviser, TFAA-FAS, Washington, DC
The Changing Structure of the U.S. Sugar Industry
Speaker: Paul Farmer, CEO and President, CSC Sugar LLC, Westport, CT
Slides (PDF, 1.9 MB)

1:45 - 3:15 p.m. Concurrent Breakout Sessions 

TRACK: Commodity Outlook
Cotton Outlook
An expert panel presents USDA's first 2023/24 cotton outlook, the U.S. apparel market and industry's issues and outlook, and developments is cotton production technology and its impact for Louisiana cotton producers.
Moderator: Graham Soley, Economist, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, DC
The World and United States Cotton Outlook
A comprehensive outlook for U.S. and global 2023/24 cotton production, consumption, and trade.
Speaker: Leslie Meyer, Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 679 KB)

Is Cotton Dead?: Apparel Industry Perspective
Clothing demand shifts with incomes, policy, and fashion. Recent supply chain shocks, growing interest in sustainability, and evolving sourcing shifts have introduced new trends and instill further volatility into both clothing and cotton demand.
Speaker: Nate Herman, Senior Vice President, Policy, American Apparel & Footwear Association, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1.3 MB)

An Overview of Cotton Research and Production in Louisiana
Innovations in biotechnology continue to drive change in U.S. cotton production. Farmers in Louisiana and elsewhere can look forward to future advances that will address issues such as rising input costs, volatile weather, and pest management.
Speaker: Mathew Foster, Extension Cotton Specialist, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Winnsboro, LA
Slides (PDF, 7.7 MB)

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and International Trade

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a very contagious disease. APHIS works with Federal, State, local and industry partners to mobilize a response to any HPAI findings. This session addresses how migratory birds are an indicator of disease spread, the importance of biosecurity on commercial farms, and how regionalization has limited the impacts to U.S. exports of poultry products.
Moderator: Jenny Lester Moffitt, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, USDA, Washington, DC
HPAI and Biosecurity
Defend the Flock campaign promotes biosecurity which reduces risk of spreading infectious diseases by people and animals. This session assesses the progress made since the last HPAI outbreak and summarizes the current issues.
Speaker: Carol Cardona , Professor and Pomeroy Endowed Chair in Avian Health, Univ. Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
HPAI and Wildlife
Wild birds can carry Avian Influenza and not appear sick USDA works with Federal and State partners to conduct surveillance testing on wild birds. This provides an important indicator of possible risk for backyard and commercial poultry flocks.
Speaker: Sarah Bevins , Research Biologist, USDA APHIS, Fort Collins, CO
Slides (PDF, 4.1 MB)

HPAI andTrade Considerations
The 2015 HPAI outbreak resulted in significant trade impacts for the U.S. poultry industry. Since that time USDA has worked to remove trade barriers and implement regionalization. This session assesses the progress in removing trade barriers.
Speaker: Samantha Padilla, Agricultural Economist, USDA ERS, Kansas City, MO
Slides (PDF, 2.5 MB)

TRACK: Food Safety and Nutrition
USDA’s Action on Nutrition Security
(Compiled Slides (PDF, 8.7 MB))
This session provided an overview of USDA’s actions on nutrition security. The session began with an overview of the intersection between nutrition security and health equity.  Speakers also discussed the four pillars USDA  used to categorize the whole-of-Department approach to promote and elevate nutrition security.
Moderator: Alberto Gonzalez, Jr., Senior Advisor for External Engagement, Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VA

Speaker: TusaRebeeca Pannucci, Branch Chief, Nutrition and Economic Analysis, Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VA

Speaker: Madeline Becker, Senior Technical Advisor, School Meals Policy Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VA

Speaker: Amy Herring, Director of the Office of Innovation for WIC, Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VA

TRACK: Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Tools and Resources to put Adaptation into Action

The effects of climate change on agricultural producers are already apparent and will continue to grow over the next several decades. USDA and its partners are developing and curating tools and resources to proactively address the needs of producers and other food system actors, with the aim to increase their adaptive capacity and decrease their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Moderator: Stephanie Morris, Senior Climate Adaptation Coordinator, OCE, Washington, DC
Resources to support place- and community-based climate adaptation
The USDA Climate Hubs shared examples of how they co-develop resources with stakeholders to support place-based climate adaptation to acute and chronic climate stressors in diverse agricultural regions.
Speaker: Caiti Steele, Coordinator of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub, College Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Slides (PDF, 3.4 MB)

Developing decision-support tools for agriculture under a changing climate
This talk highlighted ongoing efforts between the University of Florida, Cornell University, and USDA on AgroClimate, a decision support tool designed to help producers make real-time decisions using agricultural indicators of climate change.
Speaker: Clyde Fraisse, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Slides (PDF, 3.5 MB)

Climate adaptation of risk management resources
USDA’s Risk Management Agency discussed ongoing efforts to update program data and practice availability, products, and procedures to reflect climate-related changes in risk and agricultural practices.
Speaker: Xuan Hong Pham, Senior Actuary, Risk Management Agency, U.S. Department of Agricul, Kansas City, MO
Slides (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Adapting tools and resources to account for climate impacts on agriculture and trade
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service provided an overview of how they are integrating climate adaptation into their activities, including their programs, resources, and outreach and communication.
Speaker: Jeremy Adamson, Senior Policy Advisor, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 2.2 MB)

TRACK: Commodity Outlook
Livestock and Poultry Outlook

The session  included a presentation on USDA's preliminary supply and demand forecasts for 2023/24 for livestock and poultry and a discussion of the key factors impacting the sector.
Moderator: Lindsay Kuberka, Director, Office of Global Analysis, USDA-FAS, Washington, DC
Outlook for U.S. Livestock and Poultry
Speaker: Justin Choe, Livestock and Poultry Analyst, USDA-OCE, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 3.2 MB)
The Tyson Foods Automation Strategy
Speaker: Marty Linn, Director Engineering, Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center
Slides (PDF, 8.2 MB)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and the Egg Sector
Speaker: Maro Ibarburu, Associate Scientist - Business Analyst, Egg Industry Center
Slides (PDF, 2.0 MB)

3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Concurrent Breakout Sessions 

TRACK: Commodity Outlook
Dairy Outlook

The session  included a presentation on USDA's preliminary supply and demand forecasts for 2023/24 for Dairy and a discussion of the key factors impacting the sector.
Moderator: Jerry Cessna, Branch Manager, Animal Products and Cost of Production Branch, REE-ERS-MTED-APCOP, USDA
Outlook for the U.S Dairy Sector
Speaker: Shayle Shagam, Livestock, Poultry, and Dairy Analyst, Office of the Chief Economist, USDA, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 785 KB)

Cost Dynamics in the Dairy Sector           
Speaker: David Anderson, Professor and Extension Specialist - Livestock and Food Product Marketing, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Slides (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Does Technology Buy Your Way out of a Labor Shortage?
Speaker: Nancy Charlton, Senior Advisor and Project Management Market Area North America, DeLaval Inc.
Slides (PDF, 5.5 MB)

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
Organic Outlook

 This session provided an overview of the trends and recent developments in organic production and consumption. Presentations drew on newly-released organic survey data by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), research on organic yields, and industry experiences related to organic fraud.
Moderator: Jennifer Tucker, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP), USDA-AMS-NOP, Washington, DC
Organic Outlook
The presentation covered recent trends in production, trade, food sales and market share for organic products.
Speaker: Sharon Raszap Skorbiansky, Research Economist, USDA-ERS, Silver Spring, MD
Slides (PDF, 546 KB)

Organic Agriculture - Current Research and Perspectives on Yield Gaps
Despite environmental and economic benefits to organic crop production, the ability of these systems to achieve optimal yields remains a point of contention. The talk provides an overview of current research and policy recommendations on the issue.
Speaker: Houston Wilson, Director, UC Organic Agriculture Institute, Parlier, CA
Slides (PDF, 6.5 MB)

Preventing Fraud and Protecting the Integrity of the Organic Seal
Tom Chapman, head of the industry’s leading business association, discussed the sweeping integrity protection measures his organization has instituted to ensure the continued veracity of the USDA Organic seal.
Speaker: Tom Chapman, CEO, Organic Trade Association, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 3.2 MB)

TRACK: Food Safety and Nutrition
The Future of Combating Foodborne Illness – Science, Collaboration and Innovation

USDA and its partners in government, industry and academia have a long history of working together to combat foodborne illness. Explore how collaboration, innovation and using science and evidence can inform solutions, from slaughter and processing changes to policy strategies. This session looked at the fight against illnesses from Salmonella in poultry, a leading cause of foodborne illness.
Moderator: Sandra Eskin, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA, Office of Food Safety, Washington, DC
The Future of Combating Foodborne Illness - an Industry Perspective
Speaker: Robert O'Connor, Independent Food Safety Consultant, Independent Food Safety Consultant, Hilton Head Island, SC

The Future of Combating Foodborne Illness - an Academic Perspective
Speaker: Craig Hedberg, Professor, Co-Director, Minnesota Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN

The Future of Combating Foodborne Illness - a Consumer Perspective
Speaker: Michael Taylor, Board Member, Stop Foodborne Illness, Kensington, MD          

TRACK: Equity & Inclusion
Increasing Access to USDA Programs for Underserved Producers

This session aims to explore recent Departmental efforts to reach underserved producers and improve equity in USDA programming by examining the payments made to underserved producers from the recent ad hoc USDA programs, the perspective of the agencies delivering the programs, and the insights of cooperators working to bridge the gap between agencies and producers and producer themselves.
Moderator: Monica Rainge, Deputy Assistant Secretary,  Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, USDA, Washington, DC
Distribution of USDA payments by race
This presentation offered some background on equity in USDA programming by focusing on program payments by race under two recent non-Farm Bill programs: MFP and CFAP.
Speaker: Anil Giri, Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service, USDA 
Program agencies and equity
This presentation outlined efforts to improve program equity for underserved producers from the perspective of a USDA program agency, including discussing some constraints to more equitable program delivery and highlighting recent initiatives.
Speaker: Marcia Bunger, Administrator, Risk Management Agency, USDA
Connecting producers to USDA programs and services
This presentation focused on cooperator organization efforts to improve equity in USDA program delivery by bridging the gap between agencies and producers, including discussing issues facing the underserved groups that they work with.
Speaker: Lorette Picciano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition / Coalicion Rural, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 3.0 MB)

Accessing USDA programs
The presentation focused on the presenter's experience in accessing USDA programming, including covering some of the barriers they faced in accessing programs and sharing how outreach initiatives helped to overcome those barriers.
Speaker: Cindy Ayers-Elliott, CEO, Foot Print Farms, Jackson, MS

TRACK: U.S. Trade & the Global Marketplace
Food Availability and Affordability in 2023: Perspectives from Three Largest Producers and Traders
During the session, panelists from the world’s three largest agricultural and food producers discussed the importance of sustainable productivity growth for global food security and the role of trade innovation in encountering farmers to adopt more sustainable production techniques.
Moderator: Seth Meyer, Chief Economist, USDA/Office of the Chief Economist, Washington, District of Columbia
Strengthening Food Security and Sustainability
Michael Scannell, Deputy Director-General, discussed vital factors contributing to the holistic EU approach to food security and the role that key drivers such as trade and innovation should play in making global food systems economically, socially and environmentally sustainable in the long-term.
Speaker: Michael Scannell, Deputy Director-General, European Commission, Directorate-General of Agriculture and Rural Development, Brussels, Belgium
Innovation and Cooperation Will Feed the World
Mr. Hafemeister discussed the role of innovation to increase productivity and cooperation to remove barriers to trade, which are necessary components of a successful food security strategy.
Speaker: Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Washington, DC
Slides (PDF, 1.8 MB)

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) outlook on Food and Agriculture Development
Director General Sui Pengfei discussed the PRC’s approach on agricultural policies, food and agricultural development, global food security, and a forward look at their future participation in global agricultural development.
Speaker: Sui Pengfei, Director General, PRC Department of International Cooperation, Beijing, China

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