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2009 Agribusiness Conference features John Phipps as luncheon speaker

Feb. 6, 2009 -- The 15th annual Arkansas State University Agribusiness Conference will be held Wednesday, February 11, 2009 in the ASU FowJohn Phipps is this year's featured luncheon speaker at ASU's 2009 Agribusiness Conference, Wednesday, Feb. 11.ler and Convocation Centers in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Onsite registration begins at 8 a.m. in Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. Lunch will be served in the Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro, at 12 noon.

The luncheon address will feature John Phipps. Phipps is a farmer, columnist for Farm Journal magazine, and host of the U.S. Farm Report syndicated TV program, America’s longest-running farm television program. Reared on a five-generation farm in east-central Illinois, Phipps earned his BS in chemical engineering and economics from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, then spent five years as a nuclear engineering officer aboard a US Navy fast-attack submarine. He returned to the family farm in 1970, and one of his sons recently joined him in the farm business. Since 1995, Phipps has received numerous awards for his agricultural writing, including agricultural writing’s highest award, Writer of the Year, in 2004. (For more on John Phipps, visit his Web site at

Joining the ASU College of Agriculture as conference sponsors are:  the Judd Hill Foundation, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Arkansas Farm Bureau, Bunge North America, Busch Agricultural Resources, Capital Agricultural Property Services, Inc., Farm Credit Midsouth, Greenway Equipment, Inc., Helena Chemical Company, Liberty Bank of Arkansas, Riceland Foods, Inc., RiceTec, Inc., and the USA Rice Federation.

The morning general session features four speakers and a panel discussion. William Biedermann, senior vice president for Allendale, Inc. will discuss the market outlook for commodities and biofuels. Tobias Hlavinka, fertilizer manager for Helena Chemical Company’s southern business unit will describe how the world fertilizer market is affecting the cost of U.S. crop production.

Following the morning break, Bob Rasche, research director for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will discuss how the financial markets and the macro economy are impacting agriculture.

A panel of all general session speakers and Richard E. Bell, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, will discuss current issues and take questions from the conference audience.

The afternoon program features four special interest sessions. Carl Brothers of Riceland Foods and Doug McNeely of Bunge North America will discuss the rice and grain markets and the relationship between the cash and futures markets.

Agricultural law specialist Mike Cone will discuss implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill.

In the Livestock Industry Session, Arkansas Farm Bureau economist Travis Justus and ASU professor
of animal science Dr. Donald Kennedy will discuss livestock industry issues including the livestock market outlook and animal welfare legislation.

Joe Foster, Harrison Pittman, and Stacey McCullough will discuss the future potential for agritourism in Arkansas and describe current agritourism projects in the state. The conference adjourns at 3:30 p.m.

Continuing education credits are available according to guidelines of the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the Arkansas Certified Crop Advisors/Arkansas Crop Consultants, and the Arkansas Department of Education.

Admission to the conference is free, but luncheon reservations are limited to the first 500 who register.  Conference information and on-line registration are available under the Upcoming Events section of the College of Agriculture web site, or directly at the link

For telephone registration, contact Joy Holmes at (870) 972-3942 or by e-mail at For additional information, contact Dr. Bert Greenwalt, professor of Agricultural Economics, at (870) 972-2221, or by e-mail at            



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