USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021

  • The USDA published their agricultural projections to 2021 report in February 2012 covering, for example, agricultural trade and commodities as well as indicators for farm income and food prices. These projections are based on assumptions about future macroeconomic conditions, weather, and policy.
  • Trends suggest continued growth in demand from developing countries who will be responsible for the majority of growth in US exports. This growth will give rise to increasing demand for meat and dairy products and world meat consumption is projected to grow by 2.2% per year
  • This growth will be fuelled by increased imports of soybean to, for example, China who now account for more than half of world trade. Projections suggest soybean imports will rise by 59% to 90 million tonnes by 2021.

Increased soybean demand may drive prices upward thus posing an economic threat to the UK livestock sector. Therefore, agriculture in the UK will need to strike a balance between sustainable production and consumption patterns in order to meet increasing global demand for meat while managing feedstock imports.

For more information, visit:

Also see: Audsley, E.; Brander, M.; Chatterton, J.; Murphy-Bokern, D.; Webster, C; Williams, A.G. (2009) An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system and the scope for reduction by 2050. How low can we go? Report for WWF and the Food Climate Research Network.

Williams, A.G., Audsley, E. & Sandars, D.L. (2006) Final report to Defra on project IS0205. Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities. London: Defra.

About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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