WAOB No. (WAOB-98-1) 128 pp

February 1998

USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2007

This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2007. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The baseline assumes no shocks and is based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. The projections assume that current agricultural law of the 1996 Farm Act remains in effect throughout the baseline. Also, the baseline assumes that the Southeast Asian currency devaluations and related economic slowdowns are confined to that region, affecting growth through 2000, with policy reforms and international financial support leading to a recovery of economic growth in subsequent years. Despite the near-term slowdown in Southeast Asian economies, generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and projected demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. Management of risk will be important for farmers, reflecting the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1997, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

Keywords: Projections, baseline, crops, livestock, trade, farm income, food prices

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