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USDA Hosts Largest Annual Meeting Without Secretary

It’s the first time in 22 years the forum occurs without leader.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is no USDA secretary, but the agency will host its largest annual meeting this week in Arlington, Virginia.

Successful Farming at Agriculture.com will cover the USDA Ag Outlook Forum Thursday and Friday.

The forum is a platform facilitating conversation on key issues and topics within the agricultural community, including producers, processors, policy makers, government officials, and both foreign and domestic nongovernment organizations.   

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, President Trump’s nominee for ambassador to China, will be a featured speaker. Considering the latest trade talk fervor, Branstad’s remarks will be highly anticipated by attendees.

For the first time in 22 years, the USDA Ag Outlook Forum will not feature its secretary in the expected crowd of 1,600 attendees.

In 1995, when the forum moved from November to February, the USDA was in between the leadership of Mike Espy and Dan Glickman, so Acting Secretary Rominger attended.

Now in its 93rd year, the Ag Outlook Forum, which the markets eye for an update of the USDA’s baseline projections of supply/demand and farm prices, will feature U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway as the keynote speaker Thursday and American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval as the distinguished dinner speaker.
 
Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications, will moderate a panel of industry leaders on finance, marketing, input supplies, and trade. The opening plenary will also feature “2017 Outlook for Agriculture” presented by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson.

Each year, the USDA calculates economic derived supply-demand forecasts for the major U.S. crops. Some brief details of the USDA’s updated balance sheet will be offered in Johannsson’s address on Thursday. The rest of the numbers will be released on Friday morning.

“The trade will be looking forward to this week’s Ag Forum projections, but the USDA has had a tendency for just modest changes in its major baseline plantings and no change in their yield levels vs. their November levels. Despite these track records, whisper changes of 5 to 6 million higher beans and 1.0 to 1.5 million lower spring seedings continue, which could provide selling opportunities in both markets,” Jerry Gidel, Price Futures Group, stated in a daily note to customers Tuesday.

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