The USDA’s projection are up for ag exports and imports


The USDA’s projection are up for ag exports and imports

A soybean export analyst says new smaller markets should get attention because they hold promise for U.S. soybean growers. Mac Marshall with the U.S. Soybean Export Council tells Brownfield he’s encouraged that the USDA’s stronger agriculture export forecast is driven partly by demand from China, but he’s cautious about depending too much on it.

“We certainly don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket,” Marshall told Brownfield Ag News Thursday. “We want to be looking at other markets.”

The USDA projects a $5.5 billion jump in U.S. ag exports for Fiscal Year 2021, expecting a total of $140.5 billion. The bigger number is driven by a $4.2 billion increase in soybean exports and a $700 million jump in corn exports.

Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are projected to be $500 million higher to $32.3 billion in FY 2021, led by higher beef and veal, variety meat, dairy, and poultry exports. On the other hand, the projection for cotton exports is down $400 million to $5 billion on smaller volume and value per unit.

Some of the increase in soybean export value is tied to export recovery, according to Marshall.

“I think as we look as well at a rebound in export viability coming into this next year, [we’re] rebounding from the covid situation that has obviously impeded exports earlier in the year,” said Marshall, who talked to Brownfield following release of the USDA’s latest trade outlook.

It’s also better demand from China and reduced competition from Brazil that brings the soybean export projection to more than $20 billion for Fiscal Year 2021, according to the USDA.

Over the past couple of years the U.S. has seen soybean market share and volume increases in Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, said Marshall.

“It’s those smaller markets that start to aggregate up that have me even more excited,” said Marshall, “because it’s not just us as the U.S. soy industry participating in one end market, it’s looking at a whole suite.”

Agricultural exports to China are forecast at $18.5 billion, an increase of $4.5 billion from FY 2020, largely on higher expected soybean sales. Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico are forecast at $21.0 billion and $19.3 billion, respectively.

The U.S. is also expected to import more agricultural goods in the coming year. U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2021 are forecast at $136.0 billion, $4.3 billion higher than revised FY 2020 due largely to a $3.9 billion increase in imports of horticultural products, and a $700 million increase in grain and feed imports.

AUDIO: Mac Marshall