Speakers and Issues Forums

State of the Industry


Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture (Invited)

Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017.

Perdue recognizes that American agriculture needs a strong advocate to promote its interests to international markets. The United States is blessed to be able to produce more than its citizens can consume, which implies that we should sell the bounty around the world. The relationship between the USDA and its trade representatives, as well as with the U.S. Trade Representative and Department of Commerce, will be vital. The work of promoting American agricultural products to other countries will begin with those relationships and will benefit us domestically, just as it will fulfill the moral imperative of helping to feed the world. Perdue has pledged to be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.

Perdue’s views on agriculture have always been shaped by his first-hand knowledge of all of its aspects, both as a farmer and as an agribusinessman. He appreciates the daily concerns and needs of American farmers, while also understanding the intricacies of global commodities markets. He is acknowledged as a national leader in agriculture, having served as a board member for the National Grain & Feed Association, and as President of both the Georgia Feed and Grain Association and the Southeastern Feed and Grain Association. Perdue has long-standing, close relationships with the leadership of the American Farm Bureau and has been recognized by the Georgia 4-H and FFA programs, among others, for his leadership in agriculture.

As the product of Georgia, a state where agriculture is the leading economic driver, Perdue recognizes that agriculture is an issue and industry which cuts across political party boundaries. He recognizes that the size, scope, and diversity of America’s agricultural sector requires reaching across the aisle so that partisanship doesn’t get in the way of good solutions for American farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

Perdue has been married to Mary Ruff Perdue for 45 years and has four adult children and fourteen grandchildren. He and his wife have served as foster parents for eight children awaiting adoption. Perdue remains a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot and avid outdoor sportsman.

Cracker Breakfast

Phil Hansen

FFVA is pleased to feature internationally recognized multimedia artist, speaker, author and innovator Phil Hansen as our Cracker Breakfast keynote speaker at FFVA 2018. 

Crashing irreverently through conventional boundaries, Hansen works at the intersection of traditional art, electronic media, offbeat materials and interactive experiences. He is most widely known for his meta-art and videos that document the creation process (sometimes even through destruction), showing that art is action, not just result. Hansen's work also extends into traditional media with features on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly and many more. His work is sought-after by many influential clients including the Grammy Awards, Disney, Skype, Mazda and the Rockefeller Foundation.

For those who have seen Hansen’s art, it’s hard to imagine that his artistic journey nearly came to an end when a tremor developed in his drawing hand. In exploring new ways to create, he discovered that by embracing his shake, his limitations could become the passageway to creativity.

Hansen’s inspirational story was first shared on the TED stage to a standing ovation and then around the world, including on PBS, BBC and CCTV. His ability to draw parallels to the business setting has won him followers among industry and business leaders, leading to invitations to speak at the TED2013 conference, Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Million Dollar Round Table.

Awards Luncheon


Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture (invited)


Adam Putnam is serving his second term as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture. He oversees the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and serves as a member of Florida’s Cabinet.

Commissioner Putnam’s priorities include fostering the growth and diversification of Florida agriculture; expanding access to Florida’s abundance of fresh produce, seafood and other products; securing a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy; protecting the quantity and quality of the state’s water supply; and safeguarding consumers from deceptive business practices.

Previously, Commissioner Putnam served five terms as Congressman for Florida’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was recognized as a leader on a variety of issues, including water, energy and government transparency and efficiency. Commissioner Putnam was acknowledged for his efforts to bring comprehensive restoration to the Everglades, reform food safety laws, modernize programs to ensure Florida agriculture remains a leader throughout the nation, and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to counter childhood obesity.

While in Congress, Commissioner Putnam was elected by his peers to serve as the Republican Policy Chairman during the 109th Congress and Chairman of the House Republican Conference for the 110th Congress, the highest elected leadership position any Floridian of either party has held in Washington. Commissioner Putnam also served as a member of the House Committees on Government Reform, Agriculture, Rules and Financial Services.

Before he was elected to Congress, Commissioner Putnam served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1996 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in food and resource economics. Commissioner Putnam is a fifth-generation Floridian who grew up in the citrus and cattle industry. He and his wife, Melissa, have four children.

Issues Forums

Election 2018: A Look Ahead for Agriculture

TBD

Fields of the Future: Putting Technology to Work


TBD

Anatomy of an Outbreak: What Have We Learned?

TBD