PULLMAN – Energy and agriculture will be the focus of the first annual WSU Economic Issues and Outlook Conference scheduled Dec. 6-7 at the Red Lion Inn at Pasco.

“The agriculture and energy sectors are operating in unprecedented economic conditions and experiencing record commodity prices,” said Tom Marsh, associate professor in WSU’s School of Economic Sciences. “Important inter-industry issues and concerns have arisen with implications for both domestic and international markets. We have assembled an outstanding panel of speakers to discuss issues of particular interest to people in the Tri-Cities and eastern Washington.”

Each session will begin with a set of speakers and conclude with a panel to discuss the talks and respond to participants questions. 

Scheduled guest speakers include:

Hosein Shapouri, an economist in the of the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a national leader in bioenergy research and policy, will provide his perspectives on these issues.

John Gardner, WSU’s new vice president of economic development and extension, will articulate his vision for WSU’s role related to economic development, as the key note dinner speaker on Dec. 6.

Des O’Rourke, an expert in agricultural marketing and a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, will provide an outlook on pear, apple and cherry markets.

Mechel Paggi, director for the Center for Agricultural Business, California State University, Fresno, will give insights on the upcoming farm bill with implications for specialty crops.

Nick Piggott, associate professor of agricultural and resource economics at North Carolina State University, who specializes in agricultural markets, agricultural biotechnology and risk management, will discuss bioenergy and risk.

Chang Nook Sohn, director of the Washington Economics and Revenue Council, will discuss the outlook for the state’s economy, at a noon luncheon on Dec. 6.

A wide diversity of other topics that will be presented by WSU faculty, government and industry speakers include: biofuels policy design, biofuel feedstocks, risk and biofuels, bioenergy and the environment, livestock outlook, wheat and grain outlook, water issues, dairy farm growth, tree fruit outlook, wine marketing, transportation, economics of health, farm bill and crop insurance. 

For more information on the conference, on how to help sponsor the conference, or to register, visit www.ses.wsu.edu/SES_Events/AnnualConf07/main.htm . Registration is $125 before Nov. 21 and $150 after. The registration fee includes all sessions, lunch and dinner, social hour, poster showing and a copy of the conference proceedings on CD. Contact Laci Graciano at (509) 335-1173 for more information.