WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2013 – The USDA’s Economic Research Service is forecasting U.S. agricultural exports in FY 2014 to drop to $135 billion, down $5 billion from the projected record $140 billion in FY 2013.

On exports, oilseeds and products are expected to decline the most, down $5.4 billion due to lower soybean and meal prices, ERS said. Grain and feed exports are expected to fall $1.7 billion due to lower wheat, rice, and feeds and fodders exports.

Cotton exports are forecast down $700 million due to lower domestic production and reduced demand from China. Little change is expected in exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products, while horticultural exports are forecast to increase $2.5 billion to a record $34.5 billion.

Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2 billion from FY 2013, and Canada is expected to return to its position as the top U.S. market for agricultural products.

U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2014 are forecast at a record $113 billion, $8 billion higher than in FY 2013.

On imports, ERS said increases in value are expected for most products in FY 2014, with the largest gains in horticultural products and sugar and tropical products.

The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall by $13 billion in fiscal 2014, to $22 billion. This would be the smallest surplus since 2007, ERS said.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack touted the possible record $140 billion forecast for FY 2013 exports, which is up slightly from last quarter’s forecast.

“Driven by the productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have achieved five years of positive momentum for agricultural exports and today’s forecast is another promising development,” Vilsack said. “Agricultural exports have a real impact on Main Street and beyond, supporting more than one million good jobs here at home. We’re counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum.”

Vilsack took the opportunity to re-stress the importance of a long-term farm bill, which among other things would extend trade promotion programs. Vilsack also reiterated his push for immigration reform.

“This would enable USDA to continue trade promotion, and carry out a wide variety of additional efforts to support a productive U.S. agriculture sector,” he said. “At the same time, America’s farmers and ranchers need a reliable and stable agricultural workforce to keep up production. Passage of the commonsense immigration reform measure, which was already approved by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, would further strengthen American agriculture and help put our nation on solid footing to maintain strong exports in the years to come.”


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