Happy National Agriculture Day! Farmers, ranchers and rural communities across the country are marking the occasion, which was first celebrated 45 years ago by the Agriculture Council of America, with the simple goal of helping consumers understand where the food they eat came from and how the fiber and renewable resource products they use are made.

With a theme this year of “Food for Life,” Tuesday’s events will focus on agriculture as a source for safe, abundant and affordable products, as a positive force in the local, national and global economy, and as a vital part of meeting the growing global challenge of hunger.

The American Farm Bureau Federation kicks off the day’s events in the nation’s capital with a breakfast reception hosted by AFBF President Zippy Duvall. Ray Starling, a special assistant to President Trump for agriculture, trade and food assistance, is expected to attend.

Later in the morning, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to USDA headquarters on the National Mall to read an Ag Day proclamation from the president. Following an introduction by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Pence, who hails from the farm state of Indiana, will speak to youth agriculture leaders, as well as members of Congress, USDA officials, and prominent members of the agriculture community.

On Tuesday afternoon, Max Armstrong, the host of This Week in AgriBusiness, will host a panel discussion on sustainability at the National Press Club. The panelists include AFBF President Duvall; John Teeple, director of advanced technology with John Deere; and Emily Buck, an associate professor at Ohio State.

During the event, the winners of the Agriculture Council’s National AG Day written and video essay contests will be honored. The winners -- Rio Bonham from Tishomingo, Oklahoma, for the written essay, and video essay winner Zoey McCormick from Carlisle, Indiana – receive a $1,000 prize and travel to Washington. Both entries can be viewed online by clicking here. The essay contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., National Association of Farm Broadcasting and Farm Progress.

“CHS enthusiastically supports rural youth and is proud to showcase their ideas and initiative,” says Annette Degnan, the company’s marketing communications director. “The essay and video contests provide the perfect platform for their visions and dreams to be shared with a broader audience.”

Capping the day’s events, the National 4-H Council on Tuesday night will present its 2018 Legacy Awards during a dinner at D.C.’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Ag Secretary Perdue will deliver remarks and receive the organization’s Abraham Lincoln Vision Award.

On Wednesday, Agri-Pulse is hosting its day-long Ag & Food Policy Summit at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant will deliver brief welcome remarks before an address by White House ag adviser Ray Starling.

The event will feature panels on topics including International Trade; Intersections Between Trade, Technology and U.S. Productivity; and How We Can Sustainably Boost Farm Productivity.

Among the speakers: Darci Vetter, Diplomat in Residence, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; National Council of Farmer Cooperatives CEO Chuck Conner; USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney; U.S. Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight; Syngenta’s Mary Kay Thatcher; the USTR’s Gregg Doud; NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy; and Nina Fedoroff, former science and technology adviser to U.S. Secretaries of State.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, are scheduled to speak late in the afternoon before closing comments.

Click here to see a full agenda.