CW2009-10-9 Event: Ag at the Crossroads

CW2009-10-9 Event: Ag at the Crossroads

October 12, 2009

The 2009 Ag at the Crossroads Conference on Nov. 5 will focus on the environment, animal welfare and social media. The conference is a joint project of the Nebraska AgRelations Council and the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics. It will be held at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln.

“The agricultural sector is increasingly connected and driven by issues and events outside of traditional commercial agricultural production. The debate on and development of new environmental legislation and regulations sets the stage for exploring the potential challenges and opportunities for agriculture in this new environment,” said Brad Lubben, UNL extension public policy specialist and planning committee member. The conference’s morning session will focus on these issues.

Agriculture has already played a substantial role in the growth of the nation’s biofuels sector. “Understanding agriculture’s role in the development and implementation of energy and climate change policy is critical for the agricultural sector to be prepared to help develop policy, manage new opportunities, and transition to a new agricultural-ecological system in the future,” Lubben said.

Jimmy Daukas, managing director for the American Farmland Trust’s Agriculture & Environment Campaign, will discuss “Opportunities and Rewards for Agriculture To Produce Environmental Benefits.” Other speakers will discuss climate change, agriculture and the Platte River Basin Project, and challenges, costs and policy directions for agriculture in the energy and climate change arena. A panel of experts will comment on the presentations and explore possible roles for entrepreneurs.

At lunch, Dennis Kahl, extension educator at UNL’s Southeast Research and Extension Center, will discuss the expanding role of social media in spreading information and influence. Kahl will offer hands-on experience in using such social media as Twitter and Facebook in the UNL BIT-Mobile mobile technology classroom at 3:30 p.m.

In the afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Greiner will discuss agriculture’s responses to animal welfare concerns. Greiner is director of science and technology for the National Pork Producers Council. Representatives of Nebraska’s beef, pork and poultry sectors will explain how their constituencies are responding to animal care issues. These discussions will be timely, NAC President Craig Buescher said, because Ohio will have voted two days earlier on whether to establish a state livestock care board.

Advance registration fee for the conference is $45 if registered by Oct. 30. Same-day registration is $50. The fee includes materials and lunch. The conference begins with registration at 8 a.m. Registrations can be sent to: Nebraska AgRelations Council, P.O. Box 830981, Lincoln NE 68583-0918. More information and a printable registration form is available online.

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Nebraska Ag Relations Council

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