2nd Annual Meeting

Monday, July 20, 2009

8:15 a.m., Registration - 9:00 a.m., Program


Southwest Council of Agribusiness To Hold

2nd Annual Meeting; Announces Speakers

Friday, June 19, 2009                                 By Shawn Wade

      The Southwest Council of Agribusiness (SWCA) will hold its 2nd Annual Meeting on Monday, July 20, 2009. The meeting will be held at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall located at 1501 Mac Davis Lane in Lubbock, Texas.

      Registration for the meeting is free and begins at 8:15 a.m. The program is set to begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and conclude with a luncheon at 12:00 Noon honoring our nation's agricultural producers.

      One of the key goals of the Southwest Council is to increase understanding within the agricultural community among and between the various regions of the U.S. and communicate agriculture's needs to key decision-makers in Washington, DC.

      To further this mission, the SWCA is proud to announce the participation of two very special guests who will address a range of important topics confronting agriculture.

     Highlighting the SWCA program are Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma and USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS) Jim Miller.

      Congressman Lucas will kick off the SWCA Annual Meeting with a morning address analyzing the current political environment and legislative threats and/or opportunities for agriculture in this time between farm bills.

      Under Secretary Miller will conclude the program with a Luncheon Address covering implementation issues relative to the 2008 farm bill, the agricultural trade agenda, as well as challenges and opportunities for the agricultural sector generally.

Rounding out the Program

      Between the headline presentations from Rep. Lucas and Under Secretary Miller, attendees will have an opportunity to hear timely and valuable information on the following topics:

Farm Bill implementation and programs. Gain a better understanding of key provisions and the timelines for programs included in the 2008 farm bill.

Cap and Trade. Learn more about the important legislation concerning green house gas emissions and climate change currently making its way through Congress. Gain a better understanding of what is in this groundbreaking legislation and how you should position your business for the future.

Washington Political Climate and major legislative initiatives impacting rural America. In this era of "change you can believe in," gain a better understanding of other changes on the horizon (whether you want to believe in them or not).

Outlook for the Agricultural and Rural Economy. Gain a better understanding of global issues impacting our local markets.

About the Speakers

      Rep. Frank Lucas represents Oklahoma's Third Congressional District and serves as the Ranking Republican Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

      The 3rd District, which includes all or portions of 32 counties in northern and western Oklahoma, stretches from the Oklahoma panhandle to parts of Tulsa, and from Yukon to Altus in the southwest. It takes up almost half the state's land mass and is one of the largest agricultural districts in the nation. Lucas describes himself as a crusader for the American farmer, and has been a tireless advocate since being elected in 1994.

      As the top Republican member on the House Agriculture Committee, Lucas works closely with Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota to represent rural interests in an increasingly urban Congress. In addition to his service on the Agriculture Committee, Congressman Lucas serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the Republican Whip team.

      Jim Miller is a long-time friend and agricultural leader in DC who was recently tapped by the Obama Administration to serve as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS), one of the most important posts at USDA.

      As Under Secretary for FFAS, Miller has authority over all the actions of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the agency that administers all farm programs; the Risk Management Agency (RMA), which administers and oversees Crop Insurance; and the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), which consults with the USTR on international trade dealings and administers all foreign promotion programs within the USDA.

      Before being selected for his current position, Jim served Senator Kent Conrad on the Senate Budget Committee where he played a critical role in the passage of the 2008 farm bill. Prior to this 7-year stint, he served in the DC offices of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the National Farmers Union (NFU). Before moving to Washington, DC, Miller operated a wheat and cattle operation in eastern Washington State.

      The Southwest Council was formed in the fall of 2006 as a diverse and consensus-based organization of producers and businesses committed to increasing opportunity and serving as a voice for agriculture in the public arena. This organization provides a forum where lenders, input suppliers and community interests can stand with major farm organizations to convey to the public and to policy makers that the impact of farm policy goes well beyond the farm.