Farmers to explore ag’s ‘New Frontiers’ at Commodity Classic

Farmers from across Minnesota and the nation are heading to Houston in record numbers for the annual Commodity Classic.

In an unprecedented opportunity for Commodity Classic attendees, both United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan will keynote the General Session of this year’s event, fast approaching Feb. 28-March 2 in Houston. The General Session is Friday, March 1, 8:30-10:30 a.m. (CST) at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The 2024 show, entitled “New Frontiers in Agriculture,” will also feature Mike Massimino in the esteemed General Session speaker lineup. Massimino is a former NASA astronaut, New York Times bestselling author and Columbia University professor, in addition to media and television personality. Retaining a longstanding crowd-pleaser, the session will again include a panel discussion with leaders of the five associations that present Commodity Classic each year: American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

The list of issues affecting agriculture and that are important to U.S. farmers remains long and varied. Attendees can expect to hear from these two knowledgeable Cabinet members on a range of topics that may include farm bill, crop protection, biofuels, biotechnology, conservation, bioeconomy and more.

Secretary Vilsack was confirmed in February 2021 to serve as the 32nd U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He returned to the role he previously filled for eight years, having been the longest-serving member of President Obama’s original Cabinet. Prior to that appointment, he served two terms as governor of Iowa, served in the Iowa State Senate and as mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Administrator Regan was sworn in as the 16th Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in March 2021, becoming the first Black man and second person of color to lead the U.S. EPA. Regan is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he developed a passion for the environment while hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather, and exploring the vast lands, waters, and inner Coastal Plain of North Carolina. As the son of two public servants — his mother, a nurse for nearly 30 years, and his father, a retired Colonel with the North Carolina National Guard, Vietnam veteran and former agricultural extension agent — Regan went on to follow in his parents’ footsteps and pursue a life of public service. Prior to his nomination as EPA Administrator, he served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Education is a hallmark of Commodity Classic. In addition to the General Session, Commodity Classic offers Learning Center, What’s New, and Early Riser education sessions, along with other opportunities for education and events at the Commodity Classic main stages. In addition, Commodity Classic features a significant three-day trade show, entertainment, and the opportunity to network with thousands of America’s farmers and agriculture industry professionals.

The General Session, sponsored by Corteva AgriScience, will be in the General Assembly room, third floor, doors opening at 8 a.m. A press conference for registered media attendees will follow Sec. Vilsack and Admin. Regan’s appearances. Detailed information on all educational sessions and the full Commodity Classic schedule are available at commodityclassic.com. Attendees may register for all three days or choose one-day registration. Registration is also available on-site.

Farmer directors and staff from both the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) will also be in Houston to participate in meetings, visit with industry partners, engage with media and participate in the American Soybean Association’s Delegate Session on March 2. The United Soybean Board / Our Soy Checkoff will be setup at booth #2311 to spotlight the big things happening with soybeans.

Commodity Classic features a robust schedule of over 30 educational sessions, two trade show floors with more than 430 exhibitors featuring the latest technology, equipment and innovation, inspiring speakers, unique tours and the opportunity to network with thousands of farmers from across the nation. Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Pre-registration is up from 30% from last year’s Classic.

“We’re expecting a big show, and we’re excited to welcome growers, agricultural exhibitors and media for Commodity Classic’s first time in Houston,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, a Nebraska farmer and co-chair of the 2024 Commodity Classic. “Advance registration is significantly higher than last year’s event in Orlando, Commodity Classic’s biggest show ever.”

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