Eye-opening findings from the OECD

The agricultural 10-year outlook is good, but farmers need to prepare for a bumpy ride, predicts a leading agricultural economist.

Speaking to delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference, Wayne Jones, head of the Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), told conference members to look at the positives in its industry, but prepare for tougher times.

"First and foremost, our agricultural outlook for the next 10 years is pretty good. The glass is more than half full," he said.

"Secondly, over the 10 years, you're on a bumpy ride. The risks in agriculture are growing and you are going to have to prepare for that."

In terms of meat consumption, Jones pointed to a huge rise in demand in developing countries, with beef, poultry, sheep and pork expected to increase in demand growth by 30-40%. However, the future he said was uncertain with these countries during recession.

Jones said: "There is a big issue on what is going to happen because of the financial meltdown on these countries."

The OECD division head concluded that farmers should leave the conference on a positive note and that the outlook for them is relatively favourable.