Discussion of the 2012 Farm Bill will take center stage at the Texas Ag Forum scheduled Oct. 24 at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark in Austin. The event will bring together commodity and farm organization leaders from across the state, said Dr. Joe Outlaw, co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

“The 2012 Farm Bill debate may be unlike any other,” Outlaw said. “The next farm bill will be deliberated while Congress and the administration grapple with the federal budget deficit. Everything is on the table, so agriculture must be prepared to face significant cuts. The debate will center around how much money is allocated for commodity programs and what is the best way to spend that money to provide a safety net for America’s producers.”

Outlaw said this year’s Ag Forum is being held “to update farmers and ranchers on the debate ongoing in Washington and the various policy options that are being discussed.”

The forum will feature presentations from policy makers, university experts and farm group representatives. “Anyone who is interested in production agriculture or the food and fiber system will find this meeting valuable,” Outlaw said. “We are asking some very busy people for their perspectives. We have a commitment from Chairman Frank Lucas of the House Committee on Agriculture to participate via telephone.”

Other expected presenters, according to Outlaw, are Juan Garcia, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency deputy administrator for farm programs; Bart Fischer, chief economist for the House Agriculture Committee; and Dr. Tom Zacharias of National Crop Insurance Services.

“In the afternoon, we will have speakers representing various commodity group proposals,” Outlaw said.

Advanced registration is $125 and covers attendance and meals. To register or for more information, call 512-450-0555 and ask for Gloria Johnson. Same day registration is $150.

The Texas Ag Forum is as an association of agricultural leaders and representatives from across the Texas food and fiber system. It was founded more than 20 years ago to provide a forum for open and public discussion of the problems and emerging issues in agriculture. It is a stakeholder-driven program in partnership with AgriLife Extension.