Multiple factors contributing to the decline in ag export values

The USDA is projecting the largest ag trade deficit in more than two decades for Fiscal Year 2024 and a livestock economist says there are several contributing factors.  In 2022 the US had an ag trade surplus of $1.9 billion. 

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says a big reason is the stronger US dollar.  “Currencies matter right now and that’s not easy for us to fix,” he says. “You also have a number of countries where general economic situation continues to not be as strong as it was over the past few years.”

He tells Brownfield the global market is more competitive than ever. “You look at South America and especially on the crop side, you’re seeing a lot stronger competition in corn and soybean markets to places like China than maybe where we were just a couple of years ago,” he says. “Those competitors matter. We might talk about this in terms of Australian beef.”

As for a fix?  Brown says, “Find more countries that are interested in USA products and grow those as best we can.”

USDA currently projects Fiscal Year 2024 ag export values to decline to $172 billion from $196.1 billion in 2022, while the Fiscal Year 2024 ag import values are projected to rise to $199.5 billion from $194.2 billion in 2022, creating an ag trade deficit of $27.5 billion.

 And while the USDA projects a decline for FY24, the ag export values are still well above the FY20 levels of $139.7 billion.  Brown says the significant growth in ag exports is not easily sustained.

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