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BMI View: Two themes will play a considerable role in US agricultural production over the short term: export opportunities and grain prices. Aside from sugar, the US runs a surplus in virtually every agricultural sector. This means that the country will be well placed to capitalise on growing consumption needs in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This will especially benefit the poultry, rice, wheat and corn sectors. Grain prices will also be a dominant theme, as although the current rise in grain prices will benefit grain farmers, livestock producers could see production suffer like in 2007/08 as production costs increase. Human based consumption growth will be largely stagnant across most sectors, with feed or alternative energy demands the main drivers for sectors experiencing significant consumption growth. Key Trends ! Rice production growth to 2013/14: 23%. Over our forecast period, rising incomes in emerging markets, predominantly Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, will boost demand for US rice exports. This will see US rice production continuing to expand to reach 7.84mn tonnes. ! Corn production growth to 2014: 25%. The continued increase in ethanol production looks set to keep corn production strong. We expect production to reach 368mn tonnes largely driven by increases in demand for feed from the livestock sector and also from ethanol and export demand. ! Milk production growth to 2013: 14:7%. This growth will not only come from domestic consumption, which is expected to rise over the forecast period, but also through greater export potential, especially to Asia, where current dairy consumption is starting from a very low base and is expanding rapidly in some countries. ! 2010 Real GDP Growth: 2.6% (up from -2.6% in 2009; predicted to average 2.2% from 2010 until 2014). ! Consumer Price Inflation: 1.1% year-on-year in August 2010 (up from -1.5% y-o-y in August 2009). Industry Developments Soybean production in the US has grown rapidly over the last two decades, growing by more than 50% since the start of the 1990s. Production has benefited from the meteoric rise in demand from China over the past decade or more. With soybean oil the most popular edible oil in China and soybean meal in high demand from the country's fast-expanding livestock sector, soybean imports have soared. By September 2010, the USDA is forecasting US 2009/10 exports to be a decade high 40mn tonnes, a 48% increase over 2000/01. China remained the primary destination, accounting for over half of all soybean exports so far in 2009/10. Poultry is the only livestock sector to show growth in 2009/10 and 2010/11. The growth largely comes on the back of rising domestic demand, but also from foreign markets as well. Over the forecast period, we expect poultry production to rise by 11% to 20.6mn tonnes, the strongest growth within the livestock sector. The increase in production will largely come from rising domestic consumption. However, the US is also the world's second largest poultry exporter behind Brazil. As such, increased global demand for poultry, particularly from emerging markets, should serve as a powerful production incentive. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found that sugar in the US receives more support than any other crop. Many put this down to the lobbying of the historically powerful collection of processors that run the industry. A threat to the current status quo has now opened up, however. Since the beginning of 2008, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), all tariffs and quotas for the trade of sugar and sweeteners between the US, Canada and Mexico have been removed. Although we are still forecasting production to grow strongly over the forecast period, should the sector be increasingly liberalised, domestic production could be threatened by cheap imports from Latin America, a scenario that has already occurred with various members of the EU, pa