USDA releases long-term agriculture projections

By | April 14, 2009
The USDA has released its report of long-term projections to 2018, which is now available at

The projections were developed by interagency committees in USDA, along with the Economic Research Service.

Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. The projections are based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather and international developments.

According to the report, while expansion in the ethanol industry continues, smaller gains for corn-based ethanol are projected, largely reflecting moderate growth in overall gasoline consumption in the U.S. By the end of the projection period, ethanol production will account for about 35 percent of corn use and corn-based ethanol production exceeds 9 percent of annual gasoline consumption, the report finds. The continued presence of ethanol demand in the corn sector, in combination with other long-term factors, holds prices for corn and many other crops well above their historical levels, although season-average annual prices are not projected to reach the record highs seen in the first half of 2008.