Driven by the mega trends of growing world population, increasing demand for energy and food, skyrocketing demand for farmland, and increased weather impacts for crops, American farmers will become price makers instead of price takers, according to Jim Wiesemeyer, vice president of Informa Economics.  Wiesemeyer was the closing speaker last Friday at the 2010 USA Rice Outlook Conference and covered topics such as the agricultural forecast and Washington policy and politics in the 112th Congress.

Explaining that China and India will lead a wealth revolution for Asian nations, Wiesemeyer said the phenomenon would benefit U.S. farmers and lead to an overall increase in food prices and higher demand for meat. 

Despite the recent volatility in world financial markets, the global and U.S. economy both are on a good track, Wiesemeyer said.  "The U.S. economy is probably better and will get better than most people think right now."

Commenting on the next farm bill, Wiesemeyer told attendees some in Congress want to simply continue the 2008 farm bill, but, he said, that would be difficult, given that there are 37 programs totaling $9 to $10 billion that have no budget baseline.  He noted that Congress will be under increasing pressure to reduce federal spending and that direct payments will be targeted. 

"We could also see some regional farm policy in the next farm bill," Wiesemeyer said.  He also credited the USA Rice Federation for its work to find a much-needed improvement in the crop insurance program for rice through the work of its Crop Insurance Task Force.