Chris Zoller, Tuscarawas County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released the interagency report: USDA Agricultural Projections to 2030. These long-term projections include several assumptions related to the Farm Bill, macroeconomic conditions, farm policy, and trade agreements. While long-term projections are based on assumptions and many unknowns, they do provide a glimpse of how U.S. farm commodity prices may perform over the next several years. Anyone interested in reading specific details is encouraged to see the report available here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/outlooks/100526/oce-2021-1.pdf?v=3513.2. The following paragraphs and figure are taken from the report.
Milk production is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 1.1% over the next 10 years, reaching 248 billion pounds in 2030. With slow growth in domestic demand as the economy recovers from the pandemic, the dairy herd will remain relatively flat in the middle of the decade but grow in the latter years. In 2030, milk cows are projected to number 9.43 million head. Economies of scale trends are expected to continue, leading to further farm consolidation. Technological and genetic developments will contribute to increasing yields. In 2030, milk production per cow is projected to average 26,295 pounds.
- Commercial use of dairy products is expected to rise faster than the growth in the U.S. population over the next decade. Demand for cheese is expected to rise because of continued greater consumption of prepared foods and increased away-from-home eating. Butter demand is also expected to grow significantly. The decline in per capita consumption of fluid milk products is expected to continue.
- Global demand for U.S. dairy products is expected to continue to grow over the next 10 years, with the largest increases being in exports of products with high skim-solids content, such as dry skim milk products (nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder), whey products, and lactose. By 2030, U.S. dairy exports are expected to be 4.0% of milk production on a milk-fat milk-equivalent basis and 22.6% on a skim-solids milk-equivalent basis.
- The all-milk price in 2021 is expected to be lower than 2020 as milk production increases significantly. At the time the projections were made, some Government purchase programs were scheduled to be discontinued at the end of 2020. Feed prices are expected to increase from 2020 to 2021. Milk production in 2022 is projected to grow at a rate slower than in 2020 and 2021 because of lagged supply response to relatively low milk prices and relatively high feed prices in 2021. With slow milk production growth in 2022 and an increase in demand as the economy is recovering from the pandemic, the all-milk price is projected to increase in 2022. As the industry adjusts, the-all milk price dips to lower levels in 2023-2025. The all-milk price then increases in nominal terms later in the decade.
There are many things that can/will change these projections, but they do provide one source of information dairy farmers can use to evaluate long-term plans. Based on these projections, what can you continue doing to be successful? What might you need to change to improve your success? I encourage you to work closely with your Extension Educator and other advisors to chart a course for long-term success.