U.S. farm exports are forecast by the USDA to hit a record $157 billion this year, aided by a weaker dollar against many foreign currencies. Agricultural lender CoBank says the impact will be somewhat uneven, with meat and dairy products benefiting the most.
Responding to strong exports and expectations of a U.S. economic recovery, farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn and 90 million acres of soybeans this spring, pointing to a record soybean crop and possibly the largest corn harvest ever, said the USDA on Thursday. Chief economist Seth Meyer also said farm exports would be a record $157 billion this year, including the largest-ever exports to China of $31.5 billion.
U.S. farm income will be a strong $111.4 billion this year, 20 percent above the 10-year average, thanks to a recovery in crop and livestock revenue and larger than usual federal payments, said the USDA. Higher market prices, particularly for corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs, and larger production were forecast to boost farm receipts by $20.4 billion from 2020's level.
China, the world's largest importer of soybeans and cotton, is developing an appetite for corn as well as it expands livestock production. Exporters reported sales totaling 3.74 million tonnes of U.S. corn to China in three days this week.
China failed to meet its "phase one" target for imports of U.S. food, agriculture, and seafood products despite a surge in purchases that began late last summer, said the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Thursday.
The ethanol industry, which says it has lost $3.8 billion in sales since March, is looking to the Biden administration for relief at the same time that farm groups want the new president to resolve the trade war with China. But a Purdue University professor said it was unlikely Biden would immediately undertake broad-scale trade reform, pointing out that "he has other priorities that take precedence."
China is buying huge amounts of U.S. corn as it rebuilds its hog herd and recovers from the pandemic but its appetite for imports could weaken by next fall, when U.S. farmers are expected to harvest their second-largest crop ever, said University of Illinois economists on Tuesday. Chinese imports of 13 million tonnes this year could taper to a still-large 10.5 million tonnes during the sales year that begins on Sept 1.
With expectations that the coronavirus will eventually recede, U.S. farm exports will catapult to a near-record $152 billion during the fiscal year that started on Oct. 1, said the USDA on Monday. China was forecast to import a record $27 billion in fiscal 2021, ending the agricultural …
Partly because food is indispensable, agricultural trade has been remarkably robust despite the disruptions of the pandemic, said Ohio State professor Ian Sheldon during the university's annual agricultural outlook conference. Inventories of key staples are at high levels worldwide so "there's no reason why a health crisis turns into a global food crisis," he said.