Economists Discuss Additional Revenue Streams in Agriculture

Dan Agri-Business, Corn, Economy, Exports/Imports, Field Crops


Top agricultural economists answer the question of what the upcoming possibilities for new revenue streams for farmers are. The question was posed during the recent Agri-Pulse Ag Outlook Forum. National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Lead Economist, Krista Swanson said a new type of aviation fuel is one stream.

Krista Swanson
NCGA Lead Economist

“Our market development action team recently had a study done and as we look over the next five years of potential for sustainable aviation fuel, the trend in yield growth that we can expect from corn alone could fill that demand for sustainable aviation fuel over the next five years. But we have to have the modeling that allows for that to happen,” she said.

Swanson said there are other potential revenue streams in exports.


“We’ve been really focused on the growing competition from Brazil. We’ve been very focused on that corn export number. But I think it’s also important that we think about corn exports not only in the form of corn as the grain but also the opportunities that exist,” she said. “We’re expanding exports of value-added products like ethanol and our meat products, So, that’s going to be really important for our industry too.”

USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer said the USDA has the opportunity to help farmers with new markets. “I would at least say the USDA’s role here is to facilitate the markets for as many income streams for producers as we can. And I think some of the development of things like our Climate Smart Commodities Program is in order to try to put a framework around this. To facilitate farmers’ ability to sell those services or sell those environmental benefits,” he said. “So, I do think that there’s an opportunity there. I do think it takes USDA and USDA is trying to dig into this a little bit to try and facilitate it.”

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.