The value of fruit, vegetables, and nuts exports could outstrip grain and feed for first time.
Lower prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans will push down the value of American exports in 2015, according to the quarterly forecast released Thursday by the USDA. Overall, the country will export $144.5 billion worth of agricultural products, a drop of $8 billion or 5.25 percent from the previous year.
Here are a few highlights from the report:
- Beef exports will soar to a record $6.2 billion, thanks to higher prices.
- Pork exports will decrease to $5.3 billion "due to tight supplies and lower prices," according to the USDA.
- Dairy exports will fall to $7 billion because of price pressures and greater competition.
- Wheat exports will slide to $6.9 billion, thanks to lower volume and wheat prices. Unfortunately, options are limited for those hoping for higher prices in 2015. "Abundant exportable supplies in competitor countries are also expected to limit growth opportunities," the report says.
- Corn exports will drop to $8.9 billion, due to strong crops throughout the world. "Global supplies are expected to be plentiful, resulting in renewed export competition and weak prices," the report says.
- Soybean exports will fall to $20 billion, given the size of the harvest, but farmers shouldn’t fret. "Lower unit prices in response to a projected record harvest are expected to strengthen demand for soybeans and products, pushing soybean and soybean meal export volumes to a new record," the report says.
- Fruit, vegetable, and nut exports will rise to a record $37 billion due to strong demand, especially for nuts, and higher prices. This could be the first time that the U.S. exports more in horticultural products than grain and feed.
What countries will receive the most American exports in 2015? Here’s what the USDA forecasts:
- China: $25 billion, which is a drop of $3 billion compared to this year. Soybeans represent 60 percent of the exports to China, which is also the largest market for U.S. agricultural products.
- Canada: $21.7 billion, which is $100 billion higher than this year, thanks to more American fruits and vegetables heading north next year.
- Mexico: $18.5 billion, which is a dip of $500 million. With a larger domestic wheat harvest, Mexico will be receiving less wheat from the United States.
- Japan: $12.7 billion, which is $400 billion less than 2014. Falling prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans are responsible.
- European Union: $12.5 billion, the same as 2014.
In terms of imports, the U.S. is expected to import $117 billion, which is an increase of $7.5 billion due to projected growth in the American economy.