Preparing for the Future


The increasing price and diminishing supply of fossil fuels will become an ever more urgent concern for U.S. agriculture



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The increasing price and diminishing supply of fossil fuels will become an ever more urgent concern for U.S. agriculture. Worries about fossil fuels, coupled with new technology advances, will drive the development of bio-based fuels. In addition, high energy prices could constrain the use of synthetic fertilizers in the U.S. and also pose a challenge for the long-term viability of new agricultural lands that are dependent on large fertilizer inputs.
Increased global trade and travel will continue to increase the potential for new emerging diseases as well as more rapid disease transmission for plants, animals, and humans. Changing agricultural systems, new lands opened to agriculture, and climate change create new opportunities for agricultural diseases. Human infectious diseases, including, prominently, AIDS, and perhaps malaria, tuberculosis, and influenza, will increase in importance as issues. Allergies (including food allergies) and asthma are also likely to increase.
Enormous new agricultural commodity production areas will come on line in South America, particularly in Brazil and Argentina. There will be tremendous pressure and structural change in the soybean market. This could have implications on the U.S. export of soybeans.
The agricultural commodity system will continue to be dominated by 4 crops: corn, soy, wheat, and rice. Tensions may develop as non-food uses for some or all of these crops compete with food and feed uses for agricultural land and resources.



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