Well, 2021 is in the books, and it’s time for the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to pat itself on the back about how well it did.
It turns out, the staff in Washington worked pretty hard to enhance trade and US agricultural exports, according to a USDA-FAS release. The US exported a record $172.2 billion in farm and food products in fiscal year 2021, up 23% from 2020, the release said.
The top 10 markets all recorded gains, and China regained its spot as the US’ largest market with a record $33.4 billion in agricultural purchases, nearly double the 2020 total, the FAS said. And, exports of many US products, including corn, soybeans, beef and horticultural products, also set records.
The FAS said, “producers, processors, exporters and rural communities have all benefitted, with each $1 billion in US agricultural exports stimulating another $1.14 billion in domestic economic activity and supporting more than 7700 full-rime civilian jobs.”
As a result, export support more than 1.3 million US jobs, from the farm to related industries like food processing and transportation, the release said.
The USDA and the Biden Administration fought to make sure trade rules work for US producers, winning a dispute under the Trump Administration’s US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, “bringing the US dairy sector one step closer to realizing the full benefits of the USMCA and securing full access to the Canadian market.”
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Hanoi in August, securing commitment from the Vietnamese government to reduce tariffs on US agricultural products, the FAS said. This is supposed to give US corn, wheat and pork producers greater access to the US’ seventh-largest agricultural export market, in line with competitors from countries that have free-trade agreements with Vietnam.
The FAS also worked to open markets for pork to India, poultry to Venezuela and apples and pears to Argentina, among others, the release said. The FAS also helped to preserve access to the Mexican market for $3.6 billion in processed food products; reopen the $46-million market for seafood in Indonesia; protect the $6w-million market for beef to Egypt; preserve access to Brazil’s market for $35 million of US milk products, $7 million of beef and $90 million of seafood; and ensure continued access for $79 million in veterinary products to Ukraine.
PROMOTIONS WORK, TOO
The USDA also worked to promote exports by awarding $202.4 million to 70 US agricultural organizations to help expand exports of US farm and food products through the FAS Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, the FAS said. The programs generated an estimated $28 in exports for every $1 invested by government and industry.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $136.74 to $139.41 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $137.18 to $141.00. FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $213.43 to $216.22 per cwt, versus $212.87 to $216.93.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $2.92 per cwt at $289.46, while select was off $3.60 at $279.72. The choice/select spread widened to $9.74 from $9.06 with 104 loads of fabricated product and 28 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were steady at $1.40 to $1.65 a bushel over the Mar futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.35 over Mar, which settled at $6.27 a bushel, up $0.07.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $159.50 per cwt down $0.27. This compares with Wednesday’s Jan contract settlement of $158.72 per cwt, up $0.17 and Mar’s $160.80, up $0.95.