The 34th Ministerial Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is underway in Rome this week. The conference is the largest gathering of agricultural leaders worldwide. Held every two years, the main focus of the conference is to gain approval from the 189 FAO member countries for the organization's budget and work program.
Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner is leading the U.S. delegation, and will present the state of global food and agriculture from the U.S. point of view on Monday.
"With our continued emphasis on addressing the emerging global challenges facing agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization maintains its commitment as the efficient, forward-looking advocate on behalf of farmers and all who participate and benefit from agriculture worldwide," says Conner. "I will also meet individually with agriculture ministers and look forward to discussing the shared benefits of agriculture's valuable participation in the global economy."
While in Rome, Conner will also visit the FAO Crisis Management Center where three USDA specialists are assigned. Operated in conjunction with the World Organization for Animal Health, the center was formed last year to analyze animal diseases and use international resources to prevent and contain animal disease outbreaks.