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Agricultural Outlook forum
United States Department of Agriculture

Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century

Plenary

Keyonte: Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

2015 U.S. Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks: Robert Johansson, Acting Chief Economist

Roundtable Discussion on Agriculture:
Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture

Phil Hogan
European Commissioner of Agriculture & Rural Development
Speech

Richard N. Haass
President
Council on Foreign Relations

Plenary Panel —

Robert T. Fraley
Executive Vice President &
Chief Technology Officer
Monsanto Company

Mary Kay Thatcher
Senior Director
Congressional Relations
American Farm Bureau

Corey J. Reed
Senior Vice President
Deere & Company

Dinner Speaker

Ambassador Darci Vetter
Chief Agriculture Negotiator
Office of the United States
Trade Representative
Slides

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: 1:45 p.m.

TRACK: FOOD PRICE & FARM INCOME OUTLOOKS

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

 

TRACK: INTERNATIONAL TRADE

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

 

TRACK: BIG DATA

Using Data & Analytics to Improve Productivity
Cook’s opening remarks can be expected to emphasize how Big Data and analytics are offering new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to improve the efficiency and resilience of their operations.  She will discuss the challenge of collecting, processing, and packaging data in a way that makes it into practical “tools” for use by farmers and ranchers.
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: AgroClimate.org
“AgroClimate.org” 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

 

TRACK: CONSERVATION

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

 

TRACK: NEW OPPORTUNITIES

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

Panelist: Derrick Lente, Esq., Owner, Lente Law Group & Lente Land and Cattle, Albuquerque, NM
presentation

Panelist: Jamie Cruz, Greenhouse and Crop Production Manager, CSA-Retail-Wholesale, SpringDell Farm, Littleton, MA
presentation

Panelist: Calvin Riggleman, Bigg Rigg Farm & Gourmet Central, Romney, WV

Panelist: Quint Pottinger, Affinity Farms, New Haven, KY

Women's Networking Event: 3:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Everyone is invited to this informal networking reception that will feature brief remarks from Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Saundra Winokur, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchards; and Laura Ginsburg, Golden Yoke Farm and Creamery. Please take this opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics with colleagues, both known and new.
Moderator: Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, USDA, Washington, DC

Speaker: Laura Ginsburg, Golden Yoke Farm and Creamery, St. Ignatius, Montana 

Speaker: Saundra (Sandy) Winokur, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchards, Elmendorf, Texas

Speaker: Elsa Torres, B&J Orchard and Vineyard, Moxee, Washington

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: 3:45 p.m.

TRACK: FOOD PRICE & FARM INCOME OUTLOOKS

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. aggregate net farm income and value added, along with various measures of the strength of the farm economy.
Speaker: Kevin Patrick, Economist, Economist Research Service, USDA, Washington, DC

Farm and Farm Household Income Trends
A review and outlook for farm income and well-being at the household level, including on- and off-farm income and comparisons with non-farm households. 
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 and the outlook for income growth across the sector.
Speaker: Stephen Gabriel, Chief Economist, Farm Credit Administration, Washington, DC


TRACK: INTERNATIONAL TRADE

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, Trade Policy Coordinator, Foreign Agriculture Service, USDA Washington, DC

 

TRACK: BIG DATA

USDA Market News: 100 Years & Counting
The Market News Service has provided crucial agricultural market information to producers, processors, marketers, and consumers since 1915.  This session celebrates Market News, past, present, and future.
Moderator: Terry Long, Fruit & Vegetables Market News Director, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC
Director Long will give a brief overview of Market News’ history.

Market News Around the World
USDA’s Market News’ impact is felt around the world, providing both data of international import and a model to other nations.
Speaker: Lloyd Day, Deputy Director, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Former Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, San Jose, Costa Rica

The Value of Market News
Market News information has value throughout the supply chain, ultimately making the system fairer and more efficient.
Speaker: Dave Lehman, Managing Director, CME Group, Chicago, Illinois

The Future of Market News
Speaker will discuss a vision of a smarter Market News for the future, adding new value to American agriculture.
Speaker: Bob Young, Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC

 

TRACK: CONSERVATION

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:
Thomas Christensen, Associate Chief for Operations, 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

 

TRACK: NEW OPPORTUNITIES

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: 8:00 a.m.

TRACK: RURAL AMERICA

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

 

TRACK: PROTECTING OUR FOOD SUPPLY

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

 

TRACK: CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate-Smart Agriculture
Moderator:
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

 

COMMODITY OUTLOOKS

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
presentation

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

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

 

COMMODITY OUTLOOKS

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

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: 10:00 a.m.

TRACK: RURAL AMERICA

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

 

TRACK: PROTECTING OUR FOOD SUPPLY

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

 

TRACK: CLIMATE CHANGE  

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

 

COMMODITY OUTLOOK

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

The World and U.S. Cotton Outlook for 2015/16
Speaker:
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

COMMODITY LUNCHEONS

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
Moderator:
Anne Alonzo, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Washington, DC

The Growth of Local Foods: Threat or Opportunity?
Speaker:
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
Speaker:
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

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: 2:00 p.m.

TRACK: FOOD WASTE

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.”
presentation

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

 

TRACK: PROTECTING OUR FOOD SUPPLY

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

 

TRACK: BIO-ECONOMY

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

 

TRACK: TRANSPORTATION

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

 

TRACK: COMMODITY OUTLOOKS

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
Speaker
: 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