Policy errors, for instance, can stymie trade and damage trust. “Export bans increase the price volatility,” he said, “and create distrust in the markets.”

High production costs also produce uncertainty and those costs are also likely to remain elevated. “Rising input costs will pressure margins. Commercial agriculture is an energy- and input-intensive industry and, as input costs increase, cost of producing food also increases. Critics don’t understand the economics of food production.”

He said the price of crude oil “clearly correlates with the cost of commodity and food production.

“So, what could go wrong? Prolonged economic stagnation, a new recession, crisis in Europe, a hard landing in China all pose a risk.”

He said a slowdown of the middle class growth rate is another concern as is the possibility of increasing value of the U.S. dollar. “Beware high input costs and short term exogenous (outside) shocks.

“But the bottom line question remains: ‘Is this another golden era for agriculture?’ That depends. But we have not seen as positive an outlook for 30 years.”

rsmith@farmpress.com