Foreign trade and U.S. food aid will be the subjects on Wednesday of "the first of many hearings the committee has planned as we gear up for the 2023 farm bill," said the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
On the day before President Biden was to meet Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the head of the largest U.S. farm group called for prompt resolution of a threat by Mexico to block imports of U.S. corn in one year's time.
n discussions to avert a potential shutoff of U.S. corn exports to Mexico, a senior-level Mexican delegation told U.S. officials that they wanted to ensure self-sufficiency in corn for tortillas. U.S. officials said Mexico "presented some potential amendments" to its presidential decree against imports of genetically modified corn beginning in January 2024.
President Biden urged the Senate to vote by the end of the week to avert a nationwide rail freight shutdown that would wound the U.S. economy. On a bipartisan roll call, the House passed legislation on Wednesday to impose a contract on railroad labor unions. The so-called tentative agreement was reached in negotiations aided by the administration.
U.S. farm exports will fall back to $190 billion this fiscal year, a drop of 4 percent from the record set in just-ended fiscal 2022, as economic growth slows in most countries, forecast the Agriculture Department on Tuesday. Soybeans, the No. 1 ag export, as well as cotton and corn would see the largest declines, jointly falling by 7 percent.
The drought-hit U.S. cotton crop is slightly larger than previously thought, at 14 million bales, but exports are stagnant for this marketing year, said the USDA on Thursday. The monthly WASDE report said cotton production was down worldwide.
Boosted by large increases in most sales categories, U.S. farm exports mushroomed to a record $196.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to newly released Commerce Department data.
Farmers in the Midwest and the mid-South are paying the price for low water on the Mississippi River in the form of lower cash bids for their corn and soybeans — as much as $2 a bushel lower for soybeans, said USDA economists on Wednesday. At the same time, the cost of transporting fertilizer upriver has increased, and neither situation is likely to change before late winter.
After reaching a record high in 2022, U.S. farm exports will plateau amid a world of uncertainties, said the USDA chief economist on Tuesday. The strong dollar and slower economic growth worldwide will be a drag on exports, now forecast by USDA at $193.5 billion this fiscal year, down slightly from the estimated record of $196 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.
Both the United States and its partners benefit from free trade agreements (FTAs), judging by the increased volumes of food and agricultural commerce between the nations, concluded a USDA analysis of 14 pacts covering a total of 20 countries. "Trends suggest that agricultural trade increased for many of these countries," said the study. "Another change was a trend toward specialization in certain products."
U.S. cotton exports will shrink by 14 percent this trade year, the result of a drought-stunted crop, but America will remain the No. 1 supplier to the world market, said the USDA on Thursday.
Asia is brimming with opportunities to win lifelong consumers of U.S. food and ag exports, said President Biden’s nominee for USDA undersecretary for trade on Thursday. At a Senate nomination hearing, Alexis Taylor said her priorities would be opening foreign markets to U.S. goods and the diligent enforcement of the rules governing trade agreements.
The risk of another outbreak of avian influenza this fall remains elevated and the stakes for poultry producers couldn’t be higher, with U.S. poultry exports expected to reach record levels in 2022, said a report Tuesday from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange.
China was far and away the top customer for U.S. food and ag exports, despite rising tensions between the nations and the still-unresolved trade war, according to government data released on Monday. Agricultural economist David Widmar said China was on track to break the record it set last year for purchases of American agricultural products.
Doug McKalip told senators that if he’s confirmed as U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, “it will be my duty to break down the barriers” to U.S. food and ag exports. During a friendly and relatively brief confirmation hearing on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee, he pledged to press U.S. trade partners to live up to existing agreements.
A week after a House committee voted to prohibit China from purchasing U.S. agricultural land, the No. 3 House Republican leader cited national security concerns in spearheading legislation to block China from acquiring U.S. agricultural companies. The restrictions were proposed at the same time business groups sought removal of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, remnants of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
Ocean carriers will be barred from unreasonably refusing to load U.S. cargo, a practice that blossomed during pandemic-related port congestion, under a bill signed into law by President Biden on Thursday.
The United States will build temporary grain silos on the border of Ukraine and Poland to help overcome a logistical barrier to exporting Ukrainian grain by rail, President Biden announced on Tuesday. "I'm working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of grains locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help bring down food prices," he said.