One of the fallbacks / features (depending on your preference) of using XFCE over the standard Ubuntu interface is that you don't get per-session ssh-agent handling (via a graphical interface) out-of-the-box, meaning you must manually fire up ssh-agent every time you login on your desktop. A minor annoyance, granted, but I remember it grating slightly after migrating from a pleasingly automated Ubuntu 10.04/Gnome setup.

This is easily fixed, however. The basic idea can be found here, after some googling (and I think it was on one of the stack-exchange sites, but I've lost the link). However, what they don't mention is that this squashes ssh-agent forwarding. The SSH_AUTH_SOCK environment variable is always overwritten, so if you SSH to your desktop from elsewhere (your laptop, say), then attempt to tunnel forward to a third machine, you get a graphical prompt asking you to unlock your desktop's key, rather than silently forwarding the laptop's. Boo.

Fortunately, we only need to be marginally more sophisticated to make it watertight. Try adding this to your .bashrc:

if [[ -z "${SSH_CONNECTION}" ]]; then
        export $(gnome-keyring-daemon --start )

Tested on Xubuntu 12.04.