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Record U.S. farm exports amid global turmoil

The United States will export a record $191 billion worth of agricultural products this fiscal year as the world scrambles to replace the corn, wheat, and vegetable oil it would normally get from Russia and Ukraine, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. It would be the second year in a row of record-high farm exports.

High commodity prices and robust demand were driving sales to record levels, said the USDA in a quarterly export forecast. The war-driven $191 billion in exports would be an 11% increase from the mark of $172.2 billion set last year during the global recovery from the pandemic and 37% larger than exports during fiscal 2020.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “significantly increased the uncertainty of agricultural supply and demand conditions in that region and globally,” said the USDA. “Global wheat prices have spiked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resultant disruptions to trade.” U.S. corn sales accelerated following the invasion, which elevated prices.

Soybean exports were forecast at a record $32.3 billion, corn at $19.1 billion, and cotton at a record $9 billion this fiscal year. Soybeans are the largest U.S. farm export and would generate $1 of every $6 in ag exports in 2022.

Ordinarily, Russia and Ukraine are leading wheat suppliers for the world market, and they are large corn exporters as well. Ukraine was No. 1 in exports of sunflower oil.

Exports to China were forecast at a record $36 billion, up from $33.4 billion in fiscal 2021 and more than double the $17 billion of fiscal 2020, when China and the United States de-escalated their trade war.

The quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report is available here.

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