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USDA Announces Outlook Forum 2006: Prospering In Rural America


WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2006- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced today that USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, titled “Prospering in Rural America,” will be held February 16-17 in Arlington, Virginia.

“The Outlook Forum gives us the opportunity to survey the trends that lie ahead for agriculture in 2006,” said Johanns. “We chose ’Prospering in Rural America’ as the theme to underscore the importance and correlation of farm policy, trade, entrepreneurship and innovation to extending our strong rural and agricultural economy.”

On February 16, the morning plenary session will begin with the keynote address by Johanns, followed by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, who will speak on trade issues. Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services J.B. Penn and Chief Economist Keith Collins will discuss the agricultural economic, trade and policy outlooks for 2006.

WGN radio broadcaster, Orion Samuelson, will moderate a Plenary Panel speaking on the topic of “Rural America’s New Economic Frontier ─ Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Collaboration.” Panel speakers are the CEO of Deere and Company Robert Lane, President of the National Corn Growers Association Gerald Tumbleson, and Under Secretary for Rural Development Tom Dorr. The day will conclude with President of the Food Products Association Cal Dooley, the dinner speaker, who will discuss agricultural trade issues.

The Forum presents 35 sessions, which begin on the afternoon of opening day. The sessions are organized into five theme tracks: Rural America, Globalization, Conservation, Science, and Markets. Session topics this year include Regional Innovation in Rural Economic Development; Community-Supported Agriculture; Horticulture: the Growing Importance of China; Future of Conservation markets; and the Implications of Global Macroeconomic Shocks on U.S. Agriculture. Other topics are bio and alternative energy, avian influenza, the future of the sugar market, the World Trade Organization, and shifting trade patterns. The traditional sessions will present the outlook for major U.S. commodities.

Among the more than 130 speakers are producers and other experts from industry and government, association leaders, and the media. Speakers include Andy Stoler, Institute for International Business, Economics and Law, The University of Adelaide; Mark Willers, CEO, MinWind Energy; Jim Gill, Texas Cattle Feeders Association; Ron DeHaven, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; Walter Armbruster, President, Farm Foundation; Don R. Parrish, Senior Director, Regulatory Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation; Jean-Louis Barjol, Secretary-General of CEFS, European Federation of Sugar; and John Chapple, General Manager, SinoAnalytica.

Pre-registration is required to attend the Forum, which will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. More details and registration are found at To register by phone, call 1-877-572-6043. Call Martha Evans at 202-694-5118 or register on the Forum Web site. Registration is $285 per person until Feb. 1. After Feb. 1, registration is $335.

The morning plenary session and panel will be available on USDA’s Web site at after 3:30 p.m. on February 16. In addition, speeches and PowerPoints that are presented at the conference will also be posted. A media center will be available for news media.

USDA has hosted the Forum annually since 1923 and 1,500 attendees are expected this year.


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