America’s farmers and ranchers face unprecedented challenges and opportunities in the decades ahead. Globalization, technological change, trade issues, federal budget constraints, global warming, high energy costs, land-development pressures, and increasing environmental and food safety concerns are all likely to have a profound impact on rural communities and on future prospects for sustaining a prosperous and vibrant farm economy. At the same time, new markets are opening to farmers that already are paying enormous dividends. Investments in biofuels projects and wind farms, as well as the generation of carbon credits, are providing farmers and ranchers with new sources of income that are transforming the rural American economy.
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