The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed plenary speakers for USDA's 83rd annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Agriculture at the Crossroads: Energy, Farm and Rural Policy,” March 1 and 2 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will deliver the keynote address on Thursday, March 1.

“USDA's 2007 Agricultural Outlook Forum explores renewable energy's future in biofuels, cellulosic, methane, and wind,” said Johanns. “The forum's national conversation about agriculture centers on the fascinating opportunities and challenges of renewable energy in the next farm bill and beyond.”

“Renewable Energy — Inroads to Agriculture,” the forum's plenary panel, includes Patricia Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland president and CEO; Warren R. Staley, Cargill chairman and CEO; Red Cavaney, American Petroleum Institute president and chairman; and John Johnson, CHS, Inc., president and CEO. Scott Kilman of the Wall Street Journal, will moderate the panel.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, forum dinner speaker, will explore “21st Century Economic Development — A Renewed Focus on Agriculture.”

“U.S. Potential for Biofuels” will be addressed by Robert Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. William A. Frey, DuPont's global business director for biofuels, will explore the marketplace for biobutanol.

Keith Collins, USDA chief economist, will provide an overview of U.S. agriculture's economic outlook, with individual USDA sessions to address major commodities.

A discussion of the next farm bill will feature panelists Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation; Ralph Grossi, president of the American Farmland Trust; Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever; and Ambassador Tom Nassif, president and CEO of the Western Growers Association and co-chairman of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance. The discussion will be moderated by Bruce Gardner, distinguished university professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of Maryland.

Mark Keenum, USDA under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, will present the department's farm bill perspective with specialized insight from Thomas Dorr, under secretary for rural development; Bruce Knight, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs; and Mark Rey, under secretary for natural resources and environment. The moderator will be Arlen Lancaster, chief of Natural Resources Conservation.

Examining the options and challenges of risk management will be Roger Bernard of Pro Farmer and Dave Juday of World Perspectives.

A. Ellen Terpstra, USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, will address international agricultural trade. Stanford University's Tim Josling and William Cline of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, will discuss trade with developing countries. Addressing agricultural exports will be William C. Motes of Informa Economics.

Trading partners will bring viewpoints from Sweden, Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Belgium, and France.

A full roster of speakers, program preview, and registration are available at www.usda.gov/oce/forum. Registration is $300 until Feb. 5 and $350 thereafter.

Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 3:30 p.m. EST on March 1, with speech and PowerPoint presentations posted online at the end of each day's session.