3798 views last update:Mar 2, 2009

Agriculture in 2017

Somewhat later in the year, you will most probably find similar blogs to this one, called 'Agriculture in 2018'. I daresay that these blogs might be slightly less positive than this one. Why?

When looking for predictions about the future of pig production, it is a good start to turn to some reliable sources that regularly try to collect as many data as possible and project what agriculture in say ten years from now will be like.

Several organisations and institutions have done this regularly. For instance, in the beginning of 2008, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-term projections for all agricultural sectors for the next ten years.

Not much later, in March 2008, Fapri launched an own report for the coming decade. Fapri is a joint effort of Iowa State University's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Last but not least, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented its outlook, also for the next ten years, in June 2008.

Although all projections had their own approach, and emphasised different aspects of agriculture, a common conclusion could be drawn. The European Union's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development gathered and compared the results from all three projections. Its summary was published in July 2008.

All projections were fairly optimistic. Just a quick quote from the DG-Agri's summary shows how optimistic.

"For the pork sector as well, the prospects of OECD-FAO, FAPRI and USDA regarding the development of production, consumption and trade are quite similar: they all expect a growth of around 15%-20% for the pork sector and an even stronger increase for the global trade flows. However, USDA is more cautions concerning the trade development (+39%) than OECD-FAO (+50%) and USDA (+57%)."

It was only in September 2008, that most of the world started to realise that predicting the future is sometimes a difficult business. The collapse of the American bank Merrill Lynch announced a worldwide financial crisis, which has dominated global news ever since.

No projection had taken this into account.

Pork producers had already been facing tough times with high feed prices over 2007 and 2008, and now the financial crisis has come on top of that.

Will pork as a commodity be largely unaffected – or will all projections be more negative this year?

Time will tell, we shall try to keep you updated as good as we can. USDA's 2009 projection for 2018 is expected to be available on Thursday, February 11.

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