Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced speakers for USDA's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum titled "Today's Strategies & Tomorrow's Opportunities." The Forum will be held Feb. 24-25, 2011, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. The Plenary Panel speakers include:

Moderator - Christine Cochran, president, Commodity Markets Council; Nariman Behravesh, chief economist, IHS Global Insight on Critical Issues Shaping the Global Economic Outlook; Charles Whitman, founder and chief executive officer, Infinium Capital Management on Electronic Trading and the Globalization of Grain Markets; Pete Nessler, president, FCStone, LLC on A Brokerage Firm's Approach to Risk Management; Michael Copps, commissioner, Federal Communications Commission on Opening the Internet to the Rural Community.

The dinner speaker will be C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics speaking on World Economic Recovery and Growth Prospect.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will open the annual conference on Feb. 24, at 8 a.m. and Secretary Vilsack will keynote the Forum. USDA's Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the foreign trade and domestic agricultural economic outlook. The Forum's distinguished guest speaker will also be announced in the near future.

Following the plenary, experts in 25 breakout sessions will discuss a broad range of topical issues related to risk management, renewable energy, rural communities, foreign trade & domestic markets, conservation and the environment, nutrition and USDA Dietary Guidelines, land tenure issues, broadband, and sustainability. The Forum also will feature the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks. The majority of session speakers have been confirmed and their topics are available on the Forum Web site along with the program schedule.

USDA has hosted the 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, a program, and to register. Registration is $350 until Jan. 21, and $375 thereafter. Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 6:00 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, and breakout session speeches and PowerPoint presentations will be posted online after 6 p.m. Feb. 25.

Source: USDA