Upcoming Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum Will Examine Agriculture and the Global Climate

The 2007 Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum will focus on the facts, effects and policies associated with global climate change. The forum will provide opportunities for agriculturalists to examine how evolving climates can affect agriculture.

The forum, "From Colorado to the Clouds: Agriculture and a Changing Global Climate," will be held from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Double Tree Hotel, 3203 Quebec St. in Denver. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The annual forum is sponsored by Colorado State University, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Agricultural Rural Leadership graduates. Registrations after Feb. 7 will incur a late registration fee.

State and national experts will present facts about climate change and engage in question-and-answer sessions with the audience. Opportunities for agriculture to curb the emission of greenhouse gasses and farm policies related to climate change also will be discussed.

Speakers include Naomi Pena of the PEW Center for Global Climate Change; Bill Hohenstein of the USDA-Office of the Chief Economist; John Sheehan, a senior strategic analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden; and Colorado State University professors Bill Cotton, Dennis Ojima and Keith Paustian.

Pena is an environmental analyst for the PEW Center for Global Climate Change. She is currently assisting in the development of a program centered on issues related to the interactions between land use change, forestry and climate change. She also is undertaking an analysis of a full range of potential carbon sequestration options as contributors to reduced atmospheric build-up of carbon dioxide.

Hohenstein is the director of USDA’s Global Change Program Office, which serves as the focal point for all support to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s office on the causes and consequences of global change as well as strategies for addressing such consequences. His latest study is an evaluation of the sustainability of using agricultural residues as a feedstock for fuel ethanol production

Cotton, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, researches convective storms and mesoscale systems – the dynamics, precipitation formation and predictability.

Ojima, senior research scientist and interim director of Colorado State’s Natural Resources Ecology Lab, or NREL, has researched activities aimed at better integration of social science research in the study of environmental sciences, especially in the area of evaluation of changes in ecosystem services and land use decision making.

Paustian, professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and senior research scientist at NREL, also serves on the Scientific Steering Committee for the US Carbon Cycle Science Program. Paustian co-chaired the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology Taskforce on Agriculture, Climate Change, and Greenhouse Gases, and he served as coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s volume on greenhouse gas inventory methods for agriculture, forestry and other land use. His work includes assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration for the annual U.S. inventory, and development of accounting tools for farmers and ranchers to get credit under the U.S. 1605B voluntary greenhouse gas reduction program.

Afternoon breakout sessions will include topics on the Farm Bill and farming without subsidies, land-use planning options for green-space and conservation easements, the conservation title of the Farm Bill, and an update and round-table report from the Agriculture Water Alliance.

A welcoming reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the hotel. In conjunction with this reception, a retirement celebration will be held for former Commissioner of Agriculture Don Ament. RSVPs for this complimentary reception are requested by calling (303) 239-4100.

The day of the forum will be capped with the Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet with a reception at 4:15 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m. Separate registration for the Hall of Fame Banquet is required and not included with the Forum registration.

Early registration is $100 if received by Feb. 7. Late registration and registration at the door is $120. For more information or to register online, visit www.coloradoagoutlook.org; for registration questions, call the Office of Conference Services at (970) 491-7501; for program information, call (303) 239-4104.