Some wood may need knocking on here, but a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service spokesman expects commodity prices to remain at historically high levels for the next decade.

Michael Dwyer, director of the FAS Global Policy Analysis Division, says “things never looked so good—if you have a crop to sell,” this year. “If realized, 2012 will be another record setting year for all measures of farm income.”

And Dwyer, speaking at the recent inaugural Southwest Ag Issues Summit in Austin, said that trend likely will continue, unless some outside force—worsening recession or government trade policy errors, for instance—derail this train.

He said ag income has risen 40 percent in the last four years—during a time of “economic malaise. We’ve seen a time of great prosperity for American agriculture and not at the expense of the taxpayers. Farm programs have not been expensive. The point of a safety net is that in good times farmers don’t need payments.”

The numbers that project continued high farm prices for the next decade were compiled before the impact of the most recent drought was known. “Figures for 2012 likely will be higher,” he said. “Also, meat and poultry is trending up for the next 10 years.”

The trend is not just national, but global. “We see a booming demand for meat, especially in developing countries. Things look pretty good.”