WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 – With bipartisan extension of the payroll tax cut in the bag last week and the President’s Day Congressional recess ahead, most lawmakers swiftly left the Beltway on Friday and headed back home to work the campaign trail or take some type of very important trip around the globe. But for many agriculturists, it’s time to head into Washington, D.C. for USDA’s annual Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24 in Arlington, VA.


USDA is commemorating its 150th anniversary throughout 2012, and this year’s Forum provides a great opportunity to celebrate the Department’s founding in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln and mingle with a literal “who’s who” in agriculture.  Participants will get a special treat when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack moderates a panel discussion with former Secretaries of Agriculture Ed Schafer, Senator Mike Johanns, Ann Veneman, Dan Glickman, Mike Espy, Clayton Yeutter, John Block, and Bob Bergland.


The Agricultural Outlook Forum’s 25 breakout sessions with more than 80 speakers will focus on a broad range of topical issues, including: global food security; foreign trade, financial markets, and economic development; conservation; energy; climate change; food safety; food hubs; extension programs; and next generation farmers. The Forum continues to feature the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks. Among the session speakers will be representatives from major banks, trade associations, agricultural institutions, corporations, cooperatives, consultants, and academia. 


USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will present the foreign trade and domestic agricultural economic outlooks. The Forum’s dinner speaker will be Jim Miller, Senior Policy Adviser to the Senate Budget Committee. Miller formerly served as USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, as well as chief economist and chief of staff for the National Farmers Union, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Joint Commission on Grains.


USDA has hosted the Agricultural Outlook Forum since 1923 to provide farmers and ranchers, government, and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making. Attendees are expected to include members of farm organizations, food and fiber firms, academia, foreign governments, and the news media. For further information, including registration and speakers’ affiliations and biographies, visit www.usda.gov/oce/forum.

Monday, February 20

After a week in which members of Congress were able to find common ground and pass the payroll tax cut extension last week, President Obama is expected to sign the payroll measure this week. The First Lady and the couple’s two daughters are spending the President’s Day weekend skiing in Aspen, CO.

Tuesday, February 21

Secretary Vilsack will visit Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA.
USDA reports: NASS releases: U.S. and Canadian Cattle and Sheep, U.S. and Canadian Hogs, Catfish Feed Deliveries, Catfish Processing and ERS releases Feed Grains Database and Wheat Data.

Wednesday, February 22 

 No reports scheduled

Thursday, February 23

Secretary Vilsack will address the USDA 2012 Agriculture Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA  

ERS releases Outlook for Agricultural Trade

Friday, February 24

Secretary Vilsack  will participate in a Rural Business Roundtable with homeowners and lenders in Orlando, FL


Deputy Secretary Merrigan will address the USDA 2012 Agriculture Outlook Forum in Arlington, VA


Deputy Secretary Merrigan will speak at the annual Green Matters Symposium at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD

USDA reports: NASS reports on livestock and poultry slaughter, trout pfoduction, peanut prices and cattle on feed. Foreign Agricultural Service Reports on U.S. Export Sales. ERS reports Monthly Milk Cost of Production.


For more Agri-Pulse news, go to: http://www.agri-pulse.com/