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A Note to Users of USDA Baseline Projections

USDA long-term agricultural baseline projections presented in this report are a Departmental consensus on a longrun scenario for the agricultural sector. These projections provide a starting point for discussion of alternative outcomes for the sector.

The scenario presented in this report is not a USDA forecast about the future. Instead, it is a conditional, longrun scenario about what would be expected to happen under a continuation of the 2002 Farm Act and specific assumptions about external conditions. The baseline includes short-term projections from the November 2004 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Trade projections in this report for 2005/06 incorporate long-term assumptions concerning weather, foreign trend yields, and foreign use and do not reflect short-term conditions that may affect trade that year.

Critical long term assumptions are made for:

  • U.S. and international macroeconomic conditions,
  • U.S. and foreign agricultural and trade policies,
  • Growth rates of agricultural productivity in the United States and abroad, and
  • Weather.

Changes in assumptions for any of these items can significantly affect the baseline projections, and actual conditions that emerge will alter the outcomes.

The baseline projections analysis was conducted by interagency committees in USDA and reflects a composite of model results and judgment-based analysis. The Economic Research Service has the lead role in preparing the Departmental baseline report. The projections and the report were reviewed and cleared by the Interagency Agricultural Projections Committee, chaired by the World Agricultural Outlook Board. USDA participants in the baseline projections analysis and review include the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Economic Research Service, the Farm Service Agency, the Foreign Agricultural Service, the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Office of the Chief Economist, the Office of Budget and Program Analysis, the Risk Management Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.