The U.S. Department of Agriculture held its annual Agricultural
Outlook Forum in late February to discuss the
prospects for U.S. agriculture in the near and longer term.
For this year, global economic growth is expected to support
strong gains in the value of U.S. agricultural exports.
Low stocks and strong demand will allow grain producers
to benefit from exceptionally high prices. But in spite of
these developments, net cash farm income is expected to
decline this year to a relatively low level as feed costs rise
and gains in production cause livestock and poultry prices
to weaken. A decline in direct government payments is
also expected to help reduce farm income from last year.