WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today increased its estimate of U.S. agricultural exports to $142.6 billion for fiscal year 2014, up $5.6 billion from November’s estimate and $1.5 billion higher than the previous record level in fiscal year 2013.
In his annual address at USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum held in Arlington, Va., USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber noted that the forecast varied by product.
“The forecast for grain and feed exports is boosted $3.2 billion from November to $31.3 billion on greater volumes of wheat, corn, and feeds and fodders,” he said. “Oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.4 billion, up $2.5 billion, driven by record soybean and near-record soybean meal exports. The export forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is lowered by $100 million to $31.6 billion, with reductions to poultry, pork, and other livestock products outweighing gains to dairy and beef. The horticultural product exports remain unchanged from the record November forecast of $34.5 billion.”
On the topic of U.S. production and farm income, Glauber said the new farm bill will have a “minimal” impact on crop farmers’ decisions about what to plant, but the elimination of direct payments has already had an impact on the decline in farm income in 2013.
Glauber said the farm bill will force farmers to make choices between the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs, but “since both the PLC and ARC programs are based on producers’ base acres rather than on their actual planted acres, the programs will likely have limited impact on acreage decisions.”
But Glauber also noted that net cash income for 2014 is forecast at $101.9 billion, down almost 22% from 2013, but still more than $5 billion above the previous 10-year average. Most of the decline is due to the decrease in crop receipts, he said, but the elimination of the $4.9 billion in direct payments that crop farmers have been getting whether prices are high or low also played a role.