(March 22) The first National Summit on Agricultural and Food Truck Transport for the Future has been two years in the making.

That might explain how organizers put together such a lengthy list of industry leaders, politicians and directors of government agencies for the April 25-26 event in Washington, D.C.

“I think the quality of the program will be a draw for a lot of people,” said executive director Fletcher Hall.

The summit’s hosts include the American Trucking Associations’ Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation.

The Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association is the event’s primary sponsor.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns is the scheduled keynote speaker April 25. Undersecretary Tom Dorr also is expected to participate in a discussion later that day about renewable fuels. That session also is scheduled to include House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board, Jefferson City, Mo.

Hall said the summit was planned during a time that lawmakers are expected to be debating the farm bill. Title IX of the 2002 farm bill linked transportation and agriculture by establishing new programs and grants for biofuels.

“The farm bill is up,” Hall said. “There’s going to be more interest in commercial agriculture transportation.”

A panel discussion on challenges facing commercial agriculture and food transportation will include American Trucking Associations vice chairman Charles Whittington and Tracy Rosser, vice president of corporate traffic for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark.

An afternoon session dealing with innovations in truck and rail shipping will include Ted Fick, president of Thermo King Corp., Minneapolis. A session dealing with global issues follows the session.

“We tried to put together an interesting program that covered areas of interest and to bring in people with expertise or government oversight or authority with agriculture and transportation,” said Hall, who is expecting more than 200 attendees.

For registration and more information, go to www.agandfoodtrucking.org.