2020 Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum to focus on industrial hemp

The business and marketing of Wisconsin industrial hemp will be the special focus of the upcoming Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum, which is set for Tuesday, Jan. 28 on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. Results from a Wisconsin hemp marketing study will be shared during the event, and attendees will also learn about experiences and applicable lessons from hemp industry experts from states with a longer track record of growing the crop.

The 2020 forum, organized by the UW–Madison’s Renk Agribusiness Institute, runs from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in Varsity Hall in Union South, located at 1308 West Dayton Street, Madison. Registration will open at 9:30 a.m. that day, and there will be a reception following the event until 4:00 p.m.

The morning session will feature presentations by UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and UW–Madison Division of Extension experts on the status of Wisconsin’s farm economy, including the current situation and outlook for farm income, corn and soybeans, dairy, and livestock, as well as the broader economic situation and outlook for the state.

After lunch, the forum will focus on the business of hemp in Wisconsin, beginning with a presentation by UW agricultural economist and Renk Agribusiness Institute Director Paul Mitchell, who will discuss the status and outlook for the hemp industry in Wisconsin including the results from a 2019 hemp marketing study sponsored by the Renk Institute.

Then, speakers from Canada, Kentucky and Colorado will share their perspectives and experiences in the hemp industry—and what it means for Wisconsin. The speakers are:

  • Ted Haney, Executive Director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
  • Tyler Mark, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky
  • Dawn Thilmany, Outreach Coordinator and Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University

Following the presentations, all afternoon speakers will participate in a panel discussion and audience Q&A. The forum concludes with a reception to provide time to continue valuable discussions.

This year, the Renk Institute will provide a free shuttle bus service between Union South and the State Street Capitol Garage parking ramp. The State Street Capitol Garage, located at 214 N. Carroll St., provides hourly parking for $1.20 per hour. To learn more about the free shuttle service, go to:

Forum registration is open now through Jan. 20. The $20 registration fee covers both lunch and the forum. To register, view the agenda, and access information on parking and the complimentary shuttle bus, visit:

For more information, contact Jeremy Beach at or (608) 262-9485.