America’s Agricultural Opportunity

June 10, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The American continent was made for farming writes Matthew Yglesias. He then explores some of the steps that the United States should take to secure the future of its farm industry. He points out:

  • The American farming sector has done incredibly well. Agricultural inputs have only increased 0.11% since 1948 yet output has increased 170%.
  • Farming stands alongside software, media, financial services, airplanes and military equipment as America’s chief exports.
  • As countries around the world develop and get richer they are likely to consume more meat – and since meat requires a lot of grain that means that there will be a huge opportunity for America’s farmers to exploit.
  • To do so it should reverse the long term decline in arable land. This is in part due to urban regulations that discourage the building of skyscrapers which causes cities to expand into farmlands.
  • There is also the need for immigration reform. Temporary workers need a legal way to enter the United States. Crops currently go rotten in the fields for a lack of people to pick them.

To read more including the size of the farming industry, the countries that the United States exports to, why it’s unfair to compare farming to jet plane production or computer production, the ‘secret sauce’ of the farming industry, why demand for meat is such a big opportunity for America’s farmers, the problem that Washington D.C. is creating, the changing political mood, and what the future of the industry looks like, click here.

Source: Slate