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Soybean acres are predicted to increase 5.5% in 2017, according to the latest data from USDA. At the agency's 93rd Agricultural Outlook Forum, which is taking place Feb. 23-24 in Washington DC, Robert Johansson, USDA Chief Economist, shared an outlook for prices, acres, farmer sentiment and more.

The good news? The outlook for prices is slightly higher. Here are USDA's price expectations for the crop year ahead:

"Production has outpaced consumption for many grains and oilseeds over the last four years," Johansson says. "Relatively high prices for much of the last decade have resulted in increased production both in the United States and around the world. We have had record or near record world crops for corn, soybeans and wheat over the last four years."

As for acres, USDA expects soybeans and cotton to show increases, while all other major crops lose acres.

Soybean acres are expected to rise by 4.6 million acres to 88.0 million, and cotton acres are projected to rise to 11.5 million acres. Corn area is expected to decline by 4 million acres to 90.0 million.

USDA predicts total planted acres to decrease this year.

"We expect 8-crop planted area to fall this year," Johansson says. "Lower crop returns will push some area out of production while shifts in relative returns will reallocate planted area among crops. Based on current conditions we expect the 8-crop area to fall by almost 2% to 249.8 million acres, down 3.6 million acres from last year."

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