U.S. 2017 Ag Exports Reach 3rd Highest Level Ever
Soybean shipments, in fiscal year (FY) 2017, help the U.S. record its third largest amount of U.S. agricultural exports on record.
On Thursday, the USDA announced total ag exports of $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, up $10.9 billion from the previous year, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated in a press release.
As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion, according to the press release.
“U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said in the release. “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy. If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.”
China, Canada, Mexico, and Japan, in that order, were the United States’ largest customers.
China finished the fiscal year with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by Canada at $20.4 billion. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico reached $18.6 billion, a six-percent gain from last year, while exports to Japan grew 12 percent, to $11.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 markets were the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong ($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion), according to the USDA release.
Soybean Exports Lead
The release Thursday showed that the U.S. bulk commodity exports set a volume record at 159 million metric tons, up 11 percent from FY 2016, while their value rose 16 percent to $51.4 billion.
The surge was led by soybean exports, which reached a record 60 million metric tons, valued at $24 billion, according to the press release.
Exports of corn, wheat and cotton all grew as well, with the value of cotton exports climbing 70 percent, to $5.9 billion, wheat exports up 21 percent, to $6.2 billion, and corn exports up six percent, to $9.7 billion.
Secretary Perdue noted that other products recording increases in exports included U.S. dairy, beef and pork.
Dairy exports grew 17 percent to $5.3 billion, beef exports were up 16 percent to $7.1 billion, and pork exports rose 14 percent to $6.4 billion. Overall, horticultural product exports increased three percent to nearly $33.9 billion, largely driven by an eight-percent increase in exports of tree nuts, which reached $8.1 billion, the second-highest total on record. Processed food and beverage exports rose two percent to $39.2 billion, according to the government agency’s press release.
“Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. USDA continues to work to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade,” Perdue stated.