With the constant stream of negative news, it’s easy to get bearish about the outlook for U.S. agriculture. But, many positive factors are at play, says Michael Swanson, ag economist and senior vice president, Wells Fargo.
Global population growth is expanding at a steady 1.1% annual increase, but that trend continues to slow. “Technology change, higher incomes and higher education equal smaller families,” Swanson says.
Yet, Swanson is bullish about agriculture. Population increases—combined with growing incomes and evolving food preferences—all support growth, he notes.
Global gross domestic product (GDP) is increasing at 3.1%, says Pat Westhoff, director, FAPRI, University of Missouri. U.S.’s GDP growth is 2.6%. Emerging countries are growing at 5% and developing countries at 4%, yet the scale of their economies are miniscule compared to the U.S. “This is solid—not fantastic—growth,” Westhoff says.
GDP depends on labor force participation, technological change and capital spending, Swanson says. What doesn’t increase GDP is excess government debt, interest rates and happy economy talk.
“As a result, the U.S. economy is the fastest turtle on the track,” Swanson says.
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