U.S. Ag Exports Forecast to Reach Record High in 2013

September 3, 2013 08:20 AM
U.S. Ag Exports Forecast to Reach Record High in 2013

Dairy exports projected to reach highest-ever value of $5.8 billion this year.

Source: USDA

U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2013 are projected to reach $140 billion, which if realized would be a new record, USDA said late last week in its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

Dairy exports for the year are forecast at a record $5.8 billion, up $500 million from 2012 on higher prices and greater volumes due to lagging milk production in the European Union, USDA said. Next year’s dairy export value is projected to decline by $200 million, to $5.6 billion, as volumes and global prices are expected to moderate, according to USDA.

(Editor's note: USDA's 2013 outlook covers the fiscal year, from October 2012 through September 2013.)

USDA also estimates that fiscal 2014 ag exports will drop to $135 billion. Oilseeds and products are expected to decline the most, down $5.4 billion due to lower soybean and meal prices. Grain and feed exports are expected to fall $1.7 billion due to lower wheat, rice, and feeds and fodders exports. Cotton exports are forecast down $700 million as a result of lower domestic production and reduced demand from China.

Little change is expected in 2014's exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products, while horticultural exports are forecast to increase $2.5 billion to a record $34.5 billion, USDA noted. Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2 billion from fiscal 2013, and Canada is expected to return to its position as the top U.S. market for agricultural products.

"Driven by the productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have achieved five years of positive momentum for agricultural exports and [Thursday’s] forecast is another promising development," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Agricultural exports have a real impact on Main Street and beyond, supporting more than 1 million good jobs here at home.

"We’re counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum," Vilsack added. "With just a few weeks left before expiration of many Farm Bill programs – including trade promotion programs that return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested – producers and rural communities need passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible. This would enable USDA to continue trade promotion, and carry out a wide variety of additional efforts to support a productive U.S. agriculture sector.

"At the same time, America's farmers and ranchers need a reliable and stable agricultural workforce to keep up production," he said. "Passage of the commonsense immigration reform measure, which was already approved by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, would further strengthen American agriculture and help put our nation on solid footing to maintain strong exports in the years to come."

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