Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and producers, lawmakers and other policy experts gathered on Thursday for the Agriculture Forum 2009, an annual discussion of U.S. agriculture policy.
This year's theme was "global agriculture and rural America in transition" and included a special session on food and energy expectations. Policy sessions focused on the 2008 Farm Bill, global agricultural trade policy and a comparison of agricultural and rural policy in the U.S. and Europe. The forum also reviewed the successes of the 20-year-old Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, according to the forum's agenda.
The Forum program is designed to appeal to a wide range of interests," wrote Gerald A. Bange, chairman of the forum program committee. "These are exceptional times requiring exceptional insights, and we hope you come away feeling that your valuable time here has been well spent."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected corn plantings in 2009 would rise 2.3 percent to 88 million acres, soy plantings would drop 2.2 percent to 74 million acres and wheat plantings would decline 4.1 percent to 60.5 million acres.