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Agricultural Outlook Forum Highlights
For the 94th year economists, policymakers, and nongovernmental organizations gathered for the Agricultural Outlook Forum. The event is USDA’s largest annual meeting and attracts up to 2,000 people, with many others following along closely at home. This year the Agricultural Outlook Forum was held in Arlington, Virginia, and was themed The Roots of Prosperity.
Attendees shared quotes and highlights on Twitter using the #AgOutlook hashtag. Discussions hit on a number of topics important to farmers and ranchers around the country.
Water was a topic of concern in several sessions at the Agricultural Outlook Forum. Jon Radtke of Coca Cola highlighted how the company has partnered with the National Forest Foundation and local communities to increase its water replenishing projects. The importance of sound science was also discussed in regard to water management practices.
"We rely on our science, but we also know that science isn't the only thing. We work closely with local stakeholders and we look for areas where science and traditional knowledge overlap. Those are areas for opportunity." - Bryan Piazza, @nature_org #AgOutlook pic.twitter.com/CrGNgrlgMg— USDA NRCS (@USDA_NRCS) February 23, 2018
As a communications strategist, happy to hear Ray Foote of Natl Forests encourage more story telling to spread best practices in water management #AgOutlook— Ann Davison (@AnnEDavison) February 23, 2018
Jon Radtke, hydrogeologist for @CocaColaCo, understands they have a role to play in sustaining healthy watersheds. Radtke discusses their replenish projects and importance of partnering with orgs like @NationalForests and @NationalForests. #AgOutlook pic.twitter.com/XydVXnZceH— Dept. of Agriculture (@USDA) February 23, 2018
A session called Consolidation in Agriculture addressed the facts and consequences of the increased number of mergers and acquisitions seen in recent years. Speakers covered the anti-trust and competitive ramifications of consolidation among agricultural businesses. Economists also shared data and forecasts regarding farm businesses. Read 10 Ag Mergers and Acquisitions From 2017 for a quick review of recent ag business announcements.
Keith Coble of Miss State U: Farmers are entrepreneurs who must manage risk. Need data to do so effectively! Thought: What can we do to help ag community assess and interpret data as the availability of it grows exponentially? #AgOutlook— Ann Davison (@AnnEDavison) February 23, 2018
Programs, Policy, and Regulation
As Farm Bill and NAFTA deadlines quickly approach, there was plenty of discussion surrounding programs, policy, and regulation changes. The USDA released information about Farm Bill spending forecasts for each of the commodities. Overall, total farm payment programs to farmers are expected to continue the downward trend. Keep an eye on the News section of Agriculture.com for the latest details on the farm bill and trade agreements in the weeks ahead.
A number of breakout sessions highlighted rural issues including high-speed internet access and the opioid epidemic. Several speakers took time to emphasize the importance of investing in infrastructure. For information on broadband connectivity and the impact of opioids in rural America check out these Agriculture.com articles:
Dan Krouse of Midwest Poultry Services talks about how his family's business took action after the #opioidcrisis claimed a life of an employee.— Rural Development (@usdaRD) February 22, 2018
"We're all in this together," he said. #AgOutlook pic.twitter.com/IfsKwtFo4F
Quote shared by Bob Hance of @TeamMidwestCoop highlights the potential impact that limited access to #eConnectivity will have on future generations of #rural communities. #AgOutlook pic.twitter.com/kmZGZ7Jdng— Rural Development (@usdaRD) February 22, 2018
Day 2 at #AgOutlook: @usdaRD Hazlett “All of the commodities that are produced in rural communities depend on good infrastructure, which is why it’s one of our top priorities” #agriculture pic.twitter.com/AommrcYlIQ— USDA Ag Mktg Service (@USDA_AMS) February 23, 2018
Livestock and Poultry
USDA economists announced production forecasts for livestock and poultry at the 2018 Agriculture Outlook Forum. Cargill and Perdue executives also shared their perspectives as part of the event.
As in years past, USDA economists released projections for crop acres and markets. Outside factors impacting those markets were also discussed. Corn, soybeans, and cotton numbers got the attention of farmers and economists following along on social media. Read these articles from Agriculture.com for more insights: