Agricultural productivity

Namık Kemal PARLAK
Editor

The U.S. is one of the leading countries of agriculture in the world. The U.S. is a key player in the production and export of many basic products, especially cereals. US-based international companies dominate the agricultural and agro-industrial products market. However, there are some indications that the US may lose this dominance. In this respect, there are some important findings in a comprehensive analysis by a research group led by Matthew Andersen of the University of Wyoming.

The research, titled “A Century of U.S. Farm Productivity Growth: A Surge Then a Slowdown”, answers this question: Have U.S. farms exhibited slower rates of productivity growth in recent decades? The research team conducted a series of statistical procedures and tests designed to investigate the nature of changes in the rate of productivity growth over many decades. The consequences provide strong confirmation that productivity in U.S. agriculture has recently experienced a structural slowdown. According to research over the final 10 to 20 years in the researchers’ dataset, productivity grew at only half the rate that had been sustained for much of the 20th century. The researchers say that the relatively fast rates of productivity growth experienced during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s can be construed as aberrations.

The researchers suggest that the slowdown in agricultural productivity might be related to an earlier slowdown in the growth of spending on agricultural research and development. They warn that failure to improve growth in U.S. agricultural productivity over the coming decades could carry serious outcomes. Without renewed productivity growth, natural resource stocks will be exhausted faster, less agricultural crop will be produced and food will be more expensive than would have been the case with higher rates of productivity growth. The U.S. agricultural sector might suffer from diminished competitiveness with other countries.

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