Conference to focus on global market

An impressive collection of speakers will gather in Red Deer on April 30 and May 1 for the Alberta Agricultural Economics Association’s 26th annual conference.

An impressive collection of speakers will gather in Red Deer on April 30 and May 1 for the Alberta Agricultural Economics Association’s 26th annual conference.

Visions 2009 will look at Alberta’s agri-food industry in a globalized world. It will focus on three themes: Agriculture, the global economic crisis and local implications; Wetland conservation and biodiversity; and Agribusiness in a global economy.

Bodo Steiner, a faculty member in the University of Alberta’s department of rural economy and the current president of the AAEA, said one of the speakers — whose identity Steiner did now want to reveal at this time — is affiliated with the International Monetary Fund.

The keynote address at the conference’s Saturday evening banquet will be made by Richard Wansbutter, vice-president of government and commercial relations for Viterra Inc.

The remaining roster of international speakers, many of whom are faculty members at North American or European universities, are slated to talk about supply chain management and value chains, the impact of global biotechnology regulations, agriculture and energy, food and biofuels, environmental stewardship and conservation farm practices. “We really try to deliver something that is of value to the local producers,” said Steiner.

Organized through the U of A’s department of rural economy, the AAEA has as members academics, students, producers, professional agrologists and others with an interest in agriculture.

The Visions conferences, which are held every year in Red Deer, typically attract 100 to 120 registrants, said Steiner. In addition to hearing high-profile speakers, participants are able to network and share information about the latest news and developments in agriculture and agri-business.

The cost of this year’s conference, which will be held at the Red Deer Lodge, is $180 for registrations by April 24 and $210 for those after that date. Discounted rates are available for those attending one day only or just the banquet, and also for students.

For more information, go online to

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