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Corn may be king, but soybeans rule U.S. exports

By a wide margin, soybeans are the most valuable U.S. farm export, accounting for 18¢ of every $1 in sales during calendar 2020, said the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday.

By a wide margin, soybeans are the most valuable U.S. farm export, accounting for 18¢ of every $1 in sales during calendar 2020, said the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday. Corn, the country’s most widely grown crop, was second in export value to soybeans, which were worth a record $25.7 billion compared with $9.2 billion for corn.

Exports totaled $145.7 billion, the second highest for a calendar year and up 7% from 2019. “The primary factor for this surge in exports was increased shipments of soybeans, corn, and pork to China,” said the Agricultural Export Yearbook. Soybean exports were up 38% from the preceding year.

China, the world’s largest food and ag importer, was the No. 1 market for U.S. agricultural exports. It bought $26.4 billion worth of them in 2020, roughly double the $13.9 billion of 2019. Purchases included $14.1 billion worth of soybeans followed by $2.3 billion worth of pork, $1.8 billion worth of cotton, and $1.2 billion worth of corn. The United States and China de-escalated their trade war in early 2020.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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