Ag Export Forecast Trimmed, But Still at Record High

USDA is still projecting agricultural exports in fiscal year 2013 will set a new record - though they have trimmed the forecast. The latest Outlook for U.S. Agriculture Trade pegged exports at 139.5-billion dollars - down from the previous estimate of 142-billion. Corn exports are down and wheat is down about two-million tons. The latest forecast for sugar and tropical product exports is 500-million dollars lower. There is some slight increase in the forecast for oilseeds and products. Cotton exports are also projected higher. Still - U.S. agricultural exports have been climbing since 2009 when they totaled 96.3-billion. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the report is promising news that keeps American agriculture on track to continue the strongest period of exports in the nation's history. He notes agricultural exports are an important part of the economy - supporting more than a million jobs. Vilsack says USDA has worked hard to open new markets for U.S. ag products - helping to achieve new trade agreements, breaking down unfair barriers to trade, utilizing trade promotion programs and more.

Moving forward - Vilsack says it's important to continue working to strengthen markets and opportunity in American agriculture. He says that's one reason Congress needs to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs bill as soon as possible. According to Vilsack - trade promotion efforts provided by the current farm bill have been extremely valuable for U.S. producers. He says a long-term Food, Farm and Jobs bill would continue these programs - enabling USDA to keep working with producers and businesses to promote their quality products around the world.

U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record 111-billion dollars. While that's 1.5-billion dollars lower than the previous forecast - it's 7.6-billion higher than in fiscal 2012. The trade balance for fiscal year 2013 is projected at 28.5-billion - down one-billion from the February forecast and down 3.9-billion from last year.

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