KANSAS CITY — The US Department of Agriculture’s flagship event and largest annual meeting will be held virtually for a second time just as the global battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic approaches the two-year mark.  

The 98th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will take place virtually Feb. 24-25, 2022. More than 4,500 key stakeholders from the domestic and global agricultural sector attended the first virtual forum earlier this year.

The USDA opened the event registration window Oct. 27 and said the theme and full program for the conference would follow later. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver a keynote address during the forum. Also on the agenda is a presentation on the 2022 agricultural economy by Seth Meyer, chief economist with the USDA. The two-day conference will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers, a familiar component of the event for those who have attended in the past. As agribusiness continues to be beset with labor and freight market shortages, those topics and more will comprise 30 breakout sessions expanding on a range of timely issues impacting the sector.

“More than 100 government, industry, and academic leaders will share their perspectives and insights on a wide array of topics, including commodity and food price outlooks, US and global agricultural trade developments, climate change, and innovations in agricultural production and sustainability,” the USDA said in its announcement of the virtual conference.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum initially was conceived in 1923 as a conveyance of economic forecasting information to assist farmers in reading market signals to better align production with demand. In the 98 years since, the forum has become a unique platform where agriculture stakeholders from the United States and around the world gather annually to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector.  The forum, organized annually by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist together with other USDA agencies, “is independent of commercial interests and aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports more, better, and fairer markets for producers and consumers alike,” the USDA said.

Interested attendees must register for the free forum at usda.gov/oce/ag-outlook-forum. Social media users can follow the event by searching the hashtag #AgOutlook on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook