Record Trade Deficit: Why one major farm group says Congress has the power to reverse the numbers

The U.S. ag trade deficit has been growing over the last two years and it is now facing a record amount.

Economists with the American Farm Bureau forecast a $32 billion deficit for 2024, which is nearly double the record set last year and would mark the fourth time in six years that ag trade has been in the red.

Betty Resnick says several factors are contributing to the deficit, including a decline in commodity prices, a strong dollar, and increased competition. However, she says there is still time for lawmakers to help the situation.

“So there’s a couple of different policy levers our government could consider pulling. One thing is that we’ve really fallen behind in free trade agreements. So we haven’t signed a new one with new partners since 2012. Meanwhile, a lot of other countries have moved forward with trade agreements and we’re starting to lose market share and a lot of our big markets; like Asia for a whole bunch of products, you know from frozen fries to pet food and beyond. In addition to you know better access to better tariff agreements for U.S. farmers, we could increase map and FMD funding, which is a Farm Bill program to promote U.S. products around the world and continue to have our government go to bat for us all across the world in terms of market access.”

Currently, Mexico is our largest ag partner with Canada following close behind. China has fallen to the number three position.