Ag exports, a key part of U.S. farm revenue, are expected to generate 36 cents of every $1 in cash income this year, thanks to high commodity prices as the world recovers its appetite and the pandemic recedes. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the country ought to diversify its sales to a broader range of markets.
China would be barred from buying more U.S. farmland and the land already in its possession would become ineligible for farm subsidies under language approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. On a voice vote, the provision was added to a $197 billion USDA-FDA funding bill headed for a vote on the House floor.
Thanks to high demand for American-grown corn, soybeans, and meat, U.S. farm exports will soar to a record $164 billion this year, far above the current mark of $152.3 billion, set in 2014, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. China, reclaiming its spot as the No. 1 customer, would account for $1 of every $5 in overseas sales.
By a wide margin, soybeans are the most valuable U.S. farm export, accounting for 18 cents of every $1 in sales during calendar 2020, said the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday.
U.S. agriculture is running the risk of becoming overly reliant on large exports to China just over a year after Washington and Beijing de-escalated their trade war, said the head of the Farm Credit Administration on Wednesday.
In a four-day shopping spree, importers bought 3.876 million tonnes of U.S. corn for delivery to China this marketing year, said the USDA. The corn was worth $850 million, based on futures prices in Chicago.
Private exporters reported the sale of 1.15 million tonnes of U.S. corn for delivery to China by the end of August, said the USDA on Tuesday. The corn, equivalent to 45.3 million bushels, was worth $251 million based on futures prices in Chicago.
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.