The U.S. Department of Agriculture is inviting growers to attend the 78th Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 21-22 in Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C. To make news from the Forum widely available, USDA plans to “Webcast” parts of the meeting and make speech texts available on the Internet after the event.

The program will feature top government and industry speakers, topical issues shaping the outlook for agriculture, and farm and commodity prospects.

For complete program and registration details, see www.usda.gov/oce or call toll free 1-877-891-2208. Speeches presented at the meeting will be posted at the same Internet address after March 1.

The opening session will be Webcast from 8:30 to 12.30 a.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 21. Listen live at www.usda.gov. Scheduled topics include: 2002 farm prospects, trade and agricultural policy, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman's keynote address and a panel on international acceptance of biotech crops.

Other topics featured during the two-day event will include: farm bill proposals, bio-security, tracking crop and product identity, competing in global markets for processed products and climate and agriculture.

Rural innovators will report on developments in bio-energy, contract bargaining associations and farm women in rural development.