The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the members of this year's Agricultural Outlook Forum Plenary Panel on "Providing Leadership for Present and Future Generations in the Transformation of Agriculture."

This year's panelists have backgrounds in academia, business, farming and media, bringing a range of expertise to this discussion on transforming the future of agriculture. The group includes Elizabeth Garrett, president of Cornell University; Ilene Gordon, CEO of Ingredion; Pamela Hess, executive director of the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture; and Pam Johnson, an Iowa farmer and former president of National Corn Growers Association.

The Forum's plenary panelists have unique perspectives on the present and future of agriculture and rural America. Technology is opening doors to new applications for producers and throughout the marketing chain, while demographics are changing across the country's rural landscape and farm households. These trends coupled with new markets domestically and abroad, as well as new programs under the 2014 Farm Bill, form the basis for the 92nd Agricultural Outlook Forum.

The opening plenary will feature remarks from Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and "The 2016 Economic Outlook for Agriculture" presented by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. The Forum's keynote speaker is Howard Buffett, CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Mitch E. Daniels, Jr., president of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana will be the dinner speaker.


Thirty concurrent track sessions supporting this theme include the Agriculture Talent Pipeline, Bioproducts, Commodities, Land & Tenure Transition, New Markets, Organics, Risk Management, Scientific Advancement, and Trade, to Urban Agriculture. Deputy Secretary Harden will host a session on opportunities in agriculture for new and beginning farmers and host a Women's Agriculture Networking event.

USDA has hosted the Agricultural Outlook Forum since 1923. It's also USDA's largest annual meeting, attracting 1,600 attendees. It serves as a platform to facilitate conversation of key issues and topics within the agricultural community, including producers, processors, policy makers, government officials and NGOs, both foreign and domestic. The two-day meeting will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, VA, Feb. 25–26. 

To view Forum information and register go to