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The Accuracy and Informativeness of Agricultural Baselines

By Siddhartha Bora

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), University of Missouri are two main sources of baseline projections for US agricultural sector. Published in the beginning of each year, the baselines provide insight about factors influencing the agricultural sector for the next decade. The projections present a conditional scenario based on certain assumptions about macro-economy, weather, and trade, and serve a basis for comparison of alternative policies. In a new study, we evaluate the accuracy and informativeness of USDA and FAPRI baselines since 1997. We find that the predictive content of most variables in the projections diminish after 4-5 years from the current year, and the USDA and FAPRI models do not outperform one another when entire projection path is considered.

The report is available at:

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