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USDA Announces Plenary Speakers for the 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the plenary speakers for the 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “U.S. Agriculture: Seeds of Growth Through Innovation.” The event will be held in person February 23-24 at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., and all sessions will be livestreamed on a virtual platform.

At the opening plenary session, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks and moderate a panel titled “Workers and the Workforce: Essential Contributors to American Agriculture.”

Speakers at the panel include:

  • Jon Esformes, CEO of Sunripe Certified Brands and chief operating officer of Pacific Tomato Growers
  • Ines Hanrahan, executive director, Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission
  • Dr. Zachariah Rutledge, assistant professor and extension economist, Michigan State University
  • Lupe Gonzalo, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

The Secretary’s discussion will be followed by plenary panels on “Building a Prosperous Rural America,” highlighting USDA’s historic investments in rural America, including the landmark Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program and American Rescue Plan investments in a more resilient food supply chain. Speakers will share how they are taking action to tackle climate change, create more and better markets for agricultural producers, increase competition, add value, and create new revenue streams for producers and their communities.

Speakers on creating value and economic opportunity through climate-smart commodities include:

  • Dr. Cristine Morgan, chief scientific officer, Soil Health Institute
  • John Piotti, president, American Farmland Trust
  • Cornelius Blanding, executive director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Tom Ryan, president at Truterra, a Land O'Lakes Company

Speakers on strategies for more and better markets include:

  • USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt (moderator)
  • Maine Department of Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal
  • Farmer Gale, organic producer, Deep Roots Farm
  • Paul Neubauer, president, Cottonwood Local, Montana Farmer’s Union; board chair, Montana Premium Processing Cooperative

In addition to the plenary panel, Secretary Vilsack will hold a moderated discussion on Friday, February 24, with European Union Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, discussing their respective visions for sustainable agriculture and how domestic policies as well as transatlantic cooperation can help address challenges facing global agriculture.

The 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum also includes 30 track sessions with more than 90 speakers, including topics such as climate mitigation and adaptation, supply chain challenges and solutions, commodity outlooks, frontiers in agricultural production and technology and U.S. trade and global markets.

Register today at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum website and read the program at a glance (PDF, 262 KB). Follow the conversation at #AgOutlook on USDA’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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