WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 – USDA’s third-quarter forecast released this week showed the U.S. farm exports reaching the second-highest level on record at $134.5 billion in fiscal year 2012.

“With the release of today’s most recent export forecast, we can expect American agriculture to remain a bright spot in our nation’s economy in the months to come, supporting more than 1 million American jobs in communities across our country,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday. “Since 2009, our farmers and ranchers are set to deliver three of the four highest levels of U.S. agricultural exports in our nation’s history.”

He said the latest forecast for $134.5 billion in U.S. farm exports is the second highest level ever and $3.5 billion greater than the previous forecast.

The forecast is led by a 5.1-million-tons increase in the volume of bulk exports over the February forecast. Consumer-oriented products are up 15 percent over the first 6 months of 2011.

“While wheat and soybeans are expected to perform well, it is American-grown high-value products that are performing the best, with the forecast increasing again for horticultural products, particularly tree nuts, and livestock products,” according to USDA’s statement. “Moreover, exports to Canada and Mexico are both forecast up this quarter to new records, respectively, while exports to China are up $1.5 billion due to demand for cotton, pork, dairy, poultry, and tree nuts.”

The forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is up $400 million on increased exports of dairy, poultry, pork, and variety meats. Exports to the top three markets, Mexico, Canada, and China, are all raised, while exports to the EU are down $1.5 billion due to increased grain and oilseed competition.

The report also states that “given that the forecast for exports is up $3.5 billion, compared with the February forecast, while imports are rising only $1 billion, the trade balance for 2012 is a surplus of $27 billion, still lower than the record $43 billion in 2011.”

The latest export forecast data is available at www.fas.usda.gov under the Quarterly Agricultural Export Forecast link.


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