WASHINGTON, D.C. - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow will be the distinguished speakers at the 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum Plenary Session on Feb. 24 in Arlington, Va. President Clinton served two terms as President from 1993 to 2001. Senator Stabenow is the new Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Secretary Vilsack will deliver the Forum's keynote address. Following the plenary, experts in 25 breakout sessions will discuss a broad range of topical issues related to risk management, renewable energy, rural communities, foreign trade & domestic markets, conservation and the environment, nutrition and USDA Dietary Guidelines, land tenure issues, broadband, and sustainability. The Forum also will feature the traditional USDA commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. Today the Foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In the United States, the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Senator Stabenow has a long history as a champion for agriculture, forestry, and rural communities, serving on agriculture committees in the Michigan House, the U.S. House, and now the U.S. Senate. In the U.S. Senate, she played a leading role in crafting the most recent farm bill, authoring the first-ever specialty crops title, and bringing a new focus to agricultural research and conservation. She was also instrumental in helping maintain the broader agriculture safety net for farmers producing commodity crops such as corn and soybeans.

USDA has hosted the Outlook Forum since 1923 to provide farmers and ranchers, government, and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making. Attendees are expected to include members of farm organizations, food and fiber firms, academia, foreign governments, and the news media.

For further information and register for the Forum, please go to: www.usda.gov/oce/forum. The Forum will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 6:00 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, and breakout session speeches and PowerPoint presentations will be posted online after 6 p.m. Feb. 25.