USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced speakers for the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF), to be held Feb. 22–23, 2018, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

This year’s forum is themed “The Roots of Prosperity,” and the opening plenary session will feature keynote remarks from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, welcoming comments from Deputy Secretary Steve Censky, and “The 2018 Economic Outlook for Agriculture” presented by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. The forum distinguished speaker is Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. Speaking at dinner on the first day is Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer for PepsiCo.

The plenary session will also feature agriculture industry professionals involved in production, finance, marketing, input supplies, and trade, as well as representation from state government.  The prominent group includes James C. Collins, Jr., Chief Operating Officer, Agriculture Division from DowDuPont; Celia Gould, Director, Idaho State Department of Agriculture; Bill Lovette, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pilgrim’s; and Joe Stone, Senior Vice President, Cargill, Inc.

“This gathering of leaders in agriculture is part of the USDA’s commitment to maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to give them every opportunity to prosper,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Along with the plenary presentations, attendees can choose from 30 sessions with more than 90 speakers and a host of agriculture-related exhibits. Among the concurrent track sessions and topics supporting this year’s theme are International Markets, Trade, and Agricultural Policies Here and Abroad for Brazil, Sub-Saharan Africa, and China; Rural Broadband; The Economic Impact of Opioids on Rural America; Responding to Hurricane Disasters; Animal Disease Outbreak Preparedness; Water Quality and Conservation; Food Safety; Right Sizing Regulation; and the annual commodity outlooks and luncheons.

Now in its 94th year, the Agricultural Outlook Forum is the USDA’s largest annual meeting, attracting as many as 2,000 attendees from the U.S. and abroad. The forum highlights key issues and topics within the agricultural community, offering a platform for conversation among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations, both foreign and domestic.

Early arrivals may take part in two pre-forum field trips: a farm conservation tour of a working family farm in Maryland or a tour of the Beltsville Agricultural Center and National Arboretum.  The nominal fee includes transportation and a boxed lunch.

Read about the program and sessions for the 94th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. Register at USDA 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum Registration. The forum offers discounted room block rates through Monday, January 29, 2018.

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