The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) invites delegates to participate in the breakfast sessions that will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8 and Wednesday, Feb. 9. The sessions are included as a part of registration for the conference and offer a full breakfast and presentations by keynote speakers who will be addressing issues regarding the outcome of the 2010 midterm election and challenges facing the agriculture industry.

Tuesday, February 8

COMMON GROUND   Political speakers and USA today columnists Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel will take on the contentious issues that divide the nation along partisan lines, seeking common ground that can end the stalemate in Washington, D.C. Their keynote speech will emphasize bipartisan cooperation and a commitment to ending cross-aisle political conflict. They will also examine the impact of a changed political landscape following the outcome of the 2010 midterm election.

Cal Thomas got his start in journalism during the 1960s and early 1970s as a reporter at NBC News. He began writing a column in 1984 that now appears in more than 550 newspapers throughout the United States. He is a FOX News contributor and is the author of 10 books, which cover a wide range of political issues.

Bob Beckel is regarded as one of Washington’s leading political analysts. He began political work as a college student when he joined efforts in support of Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968. Since that time, he has served as a member of the Carter Administration and served as the campaign manager of Walter Mondale’s run for president in 1984. Currently, Beckel is a graduate professor in advanced political strategy at George Washington University. He is a regular Democratic political analyst for FOX News. He also appears regularly on broadcast network newscasts, and is a syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services.

Wednesday, February 9

Tom Buis joined Growth Energy in March 2009 as the new President and CEO. Prior to joining Growth Energy, Buis was the National Farmers Union’s 13th president. Buis had been with the organization since March 1998, previously serving as vice president of government relations. In that capacity, he oversaw the NFU Washington, D.C., government relations office, which advocates the interests of family farmers.

Buis served for nearly five years as senior agriculture policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. In addition, Buis worked for U.S. Rep. Jim Jontz, D-Ind., for nearly five years as legislative assistant and legislative director. He was also special assistant for agriculture to U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind.

Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1987, Buis was a full-time grain and livestock farmer in Putnam and Morgan Counties in West Central Indiana.