Experience farming and ag research first hand with two Pre-Forum Field Trips prior to the 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Early arrivals may take part in two tour options on Wednesday, Feb. 21; the Forum takes place on Feb. 22-23 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City, Virginia.
Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, Md. will host a farm conservation tour presented by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staff and partners. The farm partners with NRCS to use conservation practices as it raises beef cattle, crops, and trees. This field trip will showcase best practices for soil health in crop fields, livestock grazing, and reducing soil erosion and runoff in the barnyard. USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation leaders will discuss how to implement conservation practices and demonstrate new technology to detect metals in soils to improve soil health. Attendees of this outdoor tour should plan to dress for cold and potential wet weather.
The other Wednesday tour option is a visit to the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. and the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, Md. BARC is the USDA’s largest scientific installation with more than 6,000 acres and 18 research areas, including animal biosciences, food quality, hydrology, and genomics. The National Arboretum is a USDA facility with nearly 450 acres of gardens and ongoing multidisciplinary research on ornamental and landscape plant improvements. Participants will visit with scientists at both sites and see the Nutrition Lab, Adaptive Cropping Systems Lab, among others.
Lunch will be served at BARC’s historic Log Lodge built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps—one of the first government-sponsored work programs formed to help the nation out of the Great Depression.
Pre-Forum Field Trip bus tours will run concurrently, departing from the Crystal Gateway Marriott at 9:00 a.m. and returning by 6:00 p.m. The $40 fee includes transportation and lunch. Attendees may sign up for one field trip only. Space is limited, and registration is required.
Now in its 94th year, the Agricultural Outlook Forum is the USDA’s largest annual meeting, attracting as many as 2,000 attendees from the U.S. and abroad. The forum highlights key issues and topics within the agricultural community, offering a platform for conversation among producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations, both foreign and domestic.
Sign up for a Pre-Forum field trip at the AOF Registration website; a field trip only option is also available. Learn more about the Ag Outlook Forum program, speeches, and live webcast. Follow the conversation @USDA on Twitter and @usdagov on Instagram.