Jan. 20 forum looks at how the financial downturn affected the state’s ag sector

The third-annual Wisconsin Agricultural Economic Outlook forum will review the impact of the 2009 economic downturn on the financial condition of the state’s agricultural sector and consider its prospects for 2010.

“Following two years of generally fond memories, most Wisconsin farmers suffered through a year they would like to forget,” says Ed Jesse, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Wisconsin agriculture generates $59.16 billion in economic activity and provides jobs for 353,991 people, according to a July 2009 report released by University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Extension Cooperative Extension.

University of Wisconsin-Madison economists and commodity specialists will be joined at the forum by David Oppedahl, economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Oppedahl directs the district’s survey of agricultural banks on agricultural land values and credit conditions and will present a special keynote address during a lunch benefitting the Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship.

Luncheon tickets are available for $15 in advance only until Jan. 11. This luncheon is sponsored by the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

The forum, hosted by the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW-Extension Cooperative Extension, will take place on Jan. 20, 12:45 – 4:45 p.m. at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison, Wis. It is free and open to the public.

The public forum will begin with an overview of Wisconsin agriculture’s financial condition and a broad forecast for 2010. The discussion will then turn to the outlook for key Wisconsin commodities, including dairy, corn and soybeans, livestock, and fruits and vegetables, as well as the products and services that farmers purchase. The event will conclude with a panel framing how national and worldwide economic events have affected the state’s farmers and agricultural firms.

To RSVP for the luncheon or the forum, please visit the event website: For those who are unable to attend the forum in person, the forum will also be available on the site via webcast.

The forum coincides with the release of the 2010 edition of “Status of Wisconsin Agriculture,” published by the UW-Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

Forum presenters will be on hand to visit personally with reporters starting at 10:30 a.m. in room 313 at the Pyle Center. Please contact Arla Dauscher,, (608) 262-5784 if you are interested in attending this media availability session.