The gradual economic recovery is strengthening the 2010 outlook for U.S. agriculture.

Commodities from corn to beef spent much of last year trying to recover from the commodity-price collapse that accompanied the global credit crisis. The expectation for the agricultural sector's continued slow and steady recovery was evident in crop and trade forecasts issued this week by the U.S. Agriculture Department at its annual Outlook Forum.

Earlier in the month, the USDA estimated farm income to rise nearly 12% to $63 billion in 2010. On Friday, the USDA forecast a 9% increase in U.S. beef exports to 2.04 billion pounds this year. Pork exports are also projected to rise 9%, to 4.5 billion pounds, USDA livestock analyst Joel Greene wrote in an outlook report also released Friday.

Cotton is expected to benefit from a continued economic uptick, too. Landplanted to cotton is expected to jump 15% to 10.5 million acres, ending three consecutive years of declines. U.S. cotton exports are expected to rise 5% to 12.6 million bales, and global cotton consumption will expand 2.6% this year, the USDA said.

Cotton traded on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange rallied on the production and usage outlooks, with the nearby March contract rising 1.82 cents, or 2.3%, to 78.79 cents a pound.