Agricultural Trade Conference to Focus on Global Exports

Ag Trade 2020U.S. trade officials and agricultural representatives will meet March 10 at the Richmond Marriott for the 12th annual Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade.

Co-hosted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the Virginia Port Authority and Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, the conference will include remarks from Gov. Ralph Northam on Virginia’s trade progress and priorities.

“The conference is a once-a-year opportunity for Virginia farmers, exporters and buyers to be in the same room talking about trade,” said Wilmer Stoneman, VFBF vice president of agriculture, development and innovation. “The conference benefits everyone from the farmers producing crops all the way to buyers and consumers of those products in other countries.”

Conference speakers include U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Robert Johansson; Deere & Co. Chief Economist Luke Chandler; Dhamu Thamodaran, executive vice president, chief strategy officer and chief hedging officer for Smithfield Foods; and Greg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

A panel discussion will be led by Stephanie Grunenfelder, senior vice president of the American Peanut Council; Bryan Wiggins, manager of market research and analytics for Cotton Council International; and Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“The conference is a great event for collaboration through the entire supply chain, and it’s important to hear from the people who are directly involved in trade to know what things they’re looking for and what’s important,” Stoneman said. “That way, if you’re a farmer, you’re producing your commodity in the right fashion to be exported and used overseas. If you’re a grain buyer, you know what the buying conditions are, and if you’re a buyer or an ambassador from another country, you get to meet the people producing and marketing the commodities.”

For the agenda, lodging details or registration, visit

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