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.

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.

A full roster of speakers, program preview, and registration are available at www.usda.gov/oce/forum. Registration is $350. Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 3:30 p.m. EST on March 1.