American soybean producers and the research, regulatory, and extension institutions supporting them are preparing for the potential wind-borne entry of Asian soybean rust into the United States. For the first year of the pathogen’s establishment in this country, this analysis estimates that the expected value of net economic losses will range from $640 million to $1.3 billion--less than 1 percent of net economic benefits derived from agricultural activity--depending upon the geographic extent and severity of the pathogen’s initial entry. Annual losses in the ensuing years could average anywhere between $240 million and $2.0 billion, depending on the severity and extent of subsequent outbreaks.

The large range of damage estimates reflects the uncertainty associated with eventual effects of soybean rust in the United States. But even high-end figures are small relative to the total value of soybeans in production and consumption--a finding that confirms the resiliency and adaptability of U.S. agriculture.

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