Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Wednesday released a comprehensive analysis of key factors that will affect future growth in U.S. agriculture: international trade, research and development, protection of agriculture from pests and diseases, and challenges in preparing the next generation of farmers.
"This paper looks at the evolution of the agricultural marketplace and the strategies that farmers have used to meet emerging challenges," Johanns said. "As we discuss a new farm bill, we must consider how best to support future growth in agriculture. This analysis highlights opportunities to do so by improving our global competitiveness, making research and agriculture protection programs more effective and facilitating the transition of farms to the farmers of tomorrow."
Entitled "Strengthening the Foundation for Future Growth in U.S. Agriculture," this is the fifth and final in a series of analysis papers related to production agriculture. As with the four papers before it, it was written by USDA economists. It is not intended to recommend policy, but rather to provide a thorough analysis of the state of U.S. agriculture and to present issues and alternatives for public consideration.
In March 2006 Johanns announced the release of 41 papers summarizing the 4,000 comments received during 52 Farm Bill forums, as well as the comments submitted via mail and the Internet. Within those 41 papers emerged key themes that Johanns directed USDA economists to study in depth in preparation for 2007 farm bill discussions. The first four analysis papers covered risk management, conservation and the environment, rural development and energy.