Major Field Crops


March 31, 2005 - William A. Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson, The Hale Group, Technical and Market Advisors

Executive Summary

Wheat, corn and soybeans are the major field crops grown in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. They account for most of the acreage dedicated to agricultural production and much of the farm income generated. Wheat is primarily used for food purposes; the soft wheat varieties grown in the three state area are particularly well suited for specialty wheat products. Corn and soybeans have a wide range of uses: feed, food, fuel and
industrial markets use corn and soybeans. This rapid opportunity assessment will analyze all these markets.

There are several important economic and demographic forces that are affecting the dairy industry. The economic force is the slow but steady rising affluence of American society. The demographic factors are an aging population, smaller households, and an increase in ethnic diversity.
These factors in turn have created a set of five demand drivers. Smaller households, an aging population, and a more affluent society have increased the demand for products that are convenient for the consumer. Another impact of an aging population is an increased interest in foods that promote wellness. More ethnic diversity has increased the demand for authentic foods with foreign tastes and flavors. The interest in ethnic foods is one aspect of the third demand driver of indulgence. Indulgence is a broad category that covers many product attributes and characteristics. Products that appeal to indulgence are those designed to meet the consumer’s deeply felt desires as opposed to their needs. The final demand driver is value, for many consumers price is
still an important consideration. Products that appeal to value will remain important in the agri-food system.

This rapid opportunity assessment analyzes the demand drivers of convenience, ethnicity, indulgence, value, and wellness with the product forms used for wheat corn and soybeans. An important consideration when analyzing wheat, corn and soybeans is that these commodities are inputs in the production of final consumer products. To a great extent, the demand for the raw product is dependent or derived from the demand for the final products. The intersection of product form and demand driver can be seen as a market.


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