The United States Department of Agriculture announced today the full lineup of plenary sessions for its 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, titled “Cultivating the Future,” scheduled to take place on February 15-16, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia.
“The Agricultural Outlook Forum provides an all-encompassing look into American agriculture and its extraordinary diversity,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In this vein, the plenary sessions in this year’s edition of the Forum will provide insight into key current and emerging topics and trends in the food and agriculture sector.”
Plenary speakers and topics on the first day of the 2024 forum will focus on solutions to cultivating the future of agriculture, with opening comments by Agriculture Deputy Secretary Torres Small, followed by the unveiling of USDA’s 2024 Outlook for the domestic agricultural economy and trade by Chief Economist Seth Meyer. Keynote remarks by Secretary Vilsack will underscore USDA’s progress in creating a more resilient food system and structures that allow future generations to keep farming and build a good life in the communities they love. The latter half of the morning program will include a moderated panel with Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Dr. Tim Boring, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; and Rick Pate, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries for a discussion on the future of agriculture, challenges producers are facing, and state experiences implementing USDA investments in food and agriculture on the ground. Additionally, a panel of producers and industry experts will discuss how science, technology, and innovation are positioning farmers and ranchers to prosper. Concluding the day’s plenary sessions will be a conversation with Raj Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, about the challenges facing agriculture and the planet in the years ahead, and the big ideas needed to move forward. Following concurrent sessions on a range of topics, Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, President of Iowa State University, will close out the day with remarks on innovating agriculture’s future.
The second day’s plenary speakers will explore ways to foster diverse opportunities for U.S. ag exports in the global marketplace. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will provide virtual remarks on current U.S. foreign policy aimed at shaping and protecting U.S. interests and delivering results for the American people, while U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will address the current global trade policy landscape and discuss bilateral and multilateral engagement to increase export market opportunities for the U.S. agricultural sector. To close out the morning plenary programming, Secretary Vilsack will host Ambassador MaryKay L. Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, and Ambassador Marc E. Knapper, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, for a panel discussion on U.S. government efforts on market promotion, trade policy, capacity building, and other ongoing engagements to expand U.S. agricultural exports. Additional concurrent sessions will be hosted for the rest of the day.
The Agricultural Outlook Forum is USDA’s largest and premier annual gathering. As the Department’s longest-running annual event, it aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate transparency that supports more, better, and fairer markets for producers and consumers. The breadth and timeliness of the programs have consistently drawn a diverse group of participants, including producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations. It routinely attracts upwards of 1,800 people in person and 4,000-5,000 virtual attendees from the U.S. and around the world.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production and fairer markets for all producers. USDA is dedicated to ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities and building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. To achieve these goals, USDA encourages the use of climate-smart food and forestry practices. USDA is making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America and is committed to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.