WASHINGTON, D.C. -- USDA has announced that Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be distinguished guest speakers on Feb. 26 at the 2009 Agricultural Outlook Forum, "Global Agriculture & Rural America in Transition," at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.



Summers, who will speak at 8:15 a.m. during the plenary session, was appointed Director of the National Economic Council by President Barack Obama. Until January, Mr. Summers was the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. He served as the 27th president of Harvard University from July 2001 until June 2006. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the 71st U.S. Secretary of the Treasury following his earlier service as Deputy and Under Secretary of the Treasury and as Chief Economist of the World Bank. Summers has taught economics at Harvard and MIT. His research contributions were recognized when he received the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40, and when he was the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award for outstanding scientific achievement.



Jackson will deliver the Forum's dinner speech at 6:30 p.m. As the administrator of the EPA, Jackson leads a staff of approximately 18,000 professionals dedicated to protecting the public health and environment of all Americans. She was nominated to lead the Agency by President Obama on Dec. 15, 2008. She is the first African American to serve in that position.



Administrator Jackson lists among her priorities reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, managing chemical risks, cleaning up hazardous waste sites and protecting America's water. Before becoming EPA's Administrator, Jackson served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine. Prior to that, she was appointed by Governor Jon S. Corzine to be Commissioner of the state's Department of Environmental Protection in 2006. While Commissioner, Jackson was known for her advocacy for reducing greenhouse gases, aggressively addressing pollution and having an open and honest dialogue with stakeholders in the public policy process. She was also noted for ensuring that underserved communities received fair environmental protection under the law.



Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address and more than 140 moderators and speakers will present their expertise and outlooks on agriculture.



USDA has hosted this annual event since 1923 to provide farmers and ranchers, government and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making. This year the Forum will focus on a broad range of topical issues related to energy, trade, technology, farm policy, risk management and rural America. The Forum will also feature USDA's traditional commodity supply and demand and food price outlooks.



The Forum begins at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, and ends at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27.



Registration is $375. Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 3:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 26, with speech and PowerPoint presentations posted online at the end of each day's sessions.

SOURCE: USDA.