THE 10TH ANNUAL Arkansas State University Agriculture-Business Conference will be held Feb. 18 at the ASU Fowler and Convocation Centers in Jonesboro, Ark. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Fowler Center. Lunch will be served in the Convocation Center at noon. Afternoon sessions end at 4 p.m.

The 2004 conference will focus on agricultural biotechnology and its impact on producers, consumers, and agribusiness. The conference also includes commodity specific market information in the afternoon sessions, plus new sessions on precision agriculture technology and farm business legal issues.

The General Session on Agricultural Biotechnology will feature four presentations. Harvey Glick of Monsanto will discuss the potential of GMO crops to create value for producers, consumers, and agribusiness. Thomas J. Hoban of North Carolina State University will discuss how consumers have reacted to the introduction of GMO foods. Karil Kochenderfer of the Grocery Manufacturers of America will describe the impact of GMO crops on food manufacturers and marketers. Dan Glickman, former secretary of agriculture, will discuss the agricultural and trade policy implications of biotechnology.

During the luncheon address, Glickman will discuss Humor in American Politics.

In the Cotton Session, Hal Lewis, an Arkansas cotton producer and independent researcher, will give his views on the quality issues facing Mid-South cotton production. Sharon Johnson of Frank Schneider & Co., Inc., will give her outlook for the cotton market and discuss other issues facing the cotton industry.

The Rice Session features two speakers. Stewart Proctor, CEO of the USA Rice Federation, will discuss current issues facing the rice industry. Richard Bell of Riceland Foods, Inc., will describe the rice market outlook and give an update on government agricultural policy.

In the Livestock Industry Session, Ron Plain of the University of Missouri will describe the market outlook for beef, swine, and poultry, as well as strategic livestock industry issues.

The 2004 conference features a session on Precision Agriculture Technology. Bill Baker will describe ASU's precision agriculture research program and how farmers and landowners can benefit from GPS and GIS technology.

Finally, a new session on Business Structure and USDA Farm Program Eligibility will be presented by Mike Cone, an attorney with the Jonesboro firm of Lyons, Emerson & Cone, PLC.

A complete conference program and on-line registration is available on the Internet at http://agri.astate.edu. There is no registration fee. However, pre-registration for lunch is limited to 600. Over 600 farmers and agribusiness people attended the 2003 ASU Agriculture-Business Conference.

The ASU Agriculture-Business Conference is sponsored by the ASU College of Agriculture, the Judd Hill Foundation, Arkansas Farm Bureau, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Midsouth, Liberty Bank, Riceland Foods, Inc., the USA Rice Federation, and Busch Agricultural Resources.