Jim Wiesemeyer, vice president of Informa Economics, told rice farmers and other industry stakeholders that the future of agribusiness will be marked by volatility, with high risk and big potential gains in the years ahead. Wiesemeyer's remarks were made during the joint annual meeting of the Arkansas Rice Council and Arkansas Rice Producers' Group.

Wiesemeyer said that the rise of China, India and Indonesia will spur greater demand for food and energy globally, increasing worldwide food costs and benefitting U.S. farmers. But, he added, there will also be substantial risk for producers, with increasing federal deficit pressures resulting in cuts to farm support programs.

Agriculture program funding is estimated to comprise just 2.15 percent of the federal budget over the next 10 years, but farm programs are an attractive target for Congress.

"The U.S. debt increases $4 billion each day, so cuts have to happen," Wiesemeyer said. "The easy conclusion is that [the deficit] will eventually play into the farm bill."

Three hundred twenty-five people attended the meeting, which also included an update on Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures and USA Rice Federation's work to develop a crop insurance option suitable for rice.