Bringing the TFP factor back in, the economists say TFP would decline under scenarios 1 & 2, but would increase under scenario #3 through 2040. That means agricultural output would be 83% higher under scenario #3 by 2050 compared to current levels, barely enough to keep up with the 70% to 100% increase in expected demand by 2050. Scenario #2, in which ag research keeps up with the rate of inflation, would only see a 70% increase in output by 2050, and scenario #1 which has steady funding would only finance a 43% increase in output.
The economists say slower growth will cause prices to rise, reduce global welfare, and increase poverty in urban areas. Rising prices would expand cropland needs domestically and globally, and input use would intensify. They said such activity would come at a high environmental cost, including impairment of soil and water, loss of biodiversity, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. They also expect ag exports to decrease and US farmers to lose competitiveness in international markets.
The forecast is gloomy without higher priorities placed on publicly funded agricultural research. The result will be an erosion of productivity, which means commodity output will not be able to keep up with demand, unless more land is brought into production, along with more labor, capital, and other inputs. That result has environmental negatives, along with the decline in the US agricultural economy.
Source: the FarmGate blog