In times like these, it is good to do a reality check. We are being bombarded with prognostications that make major crop farmers smile and livestock farmers cringe. The future that is being described is one of tight crop supplies and elevated prices. Crop agriculture, they tell us, is slated to finally move to the promised land of lucrative market-generated incomes (plus $5 billion in direct payments).

And, livestock farmers' frowns are also projected to turn into smiles