Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns released a comprehensive analysis of key factors that will affect future growth in U.S. agriculture: international trade, research and development, protection of agriculture from pests and diseases, and challenges in preparing the next generation of farmers.

"This paper looks at the evolution of the agricultural marketplace and the strategies that farmers have used to meet emerging challenges," says Johanns. "As we discuss a new farm bill, we must consider how best to support future growth in agriculture. This analysis highlights opportunities by improving our global competitiveness, making research and agriculture protection programs more effective and facilitating the transition of farms to the farmers of tomorrow."

Entitled "Strengthening the Foundation for Future Growth in U.S. Agriculture," this is the fifth and final in a series of analysis papers related to production agriculture. It is not intended to recommend policy, but rather to provide a thorough analysis of the state of U.S. agriculture and to present issues and alternatives for public consideration.

The first four analysis papers covered risk management, conservation and the environment, rural development and energy. You can read all of the analysis papers at Transcripts of the Farm Bill forums and the 41 Farm Bill comment summary papers also are available online.

USDA news release