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Developing new crops or products could raise farm income and reduce government subsidies, the trade deficit, and potentially adverse environmental effects of farm production. Alternative opportunities (that is, any new enterprise, product, or production or processing practice) can aid U.S. farmers and rural economies by increasing the competitive advantage of current enterprises or by expanding output through diversification. Import substitution offers one measure of the potential market size for alternative opportunities. Substituting new crops or products for imports could add $15-$20 billion to farm income. U.S. farmers can either produce crops that are being imported or provide the materials that could substitute for imported nonagricultural materials. Alternative opportunities may be available to farmers if a competitive advantage results from producing these new crops and products.


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