USDA updates import and export forecasts — here’s what farmers need to know

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recently released its updated import and export projections, shedding light on the intricate dynamics influencing the agricultural market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised its import and export forecasts for the agricultural sector, revealing significant changes that could impact farmers and stakeholders. According to USDA economist Bart Kenner, the import forecast for the year is projected to rise considerably to around $201 billion, marking a more than five billion dollar increase from previous estimates.

Kenner explains, “The increased forecast since the November report for agricultural imports is predominantly driven by higher beef imports, which are raised $1.2 billion to $10.1 billion. Tight U.S. supplies coupled with firm demand are expected to stimulate increased shipments, benefiting from higher unit values.”

However, the export forecast, while improved compared to the November estimate, remains down approximately eight billion dollars from the previous year. Kenner elaborates, “Agricultural exports for fiscal year 2024 are forecast at $170.5 billion, which is up $1 billion from the November forecast and down $8.2 billion from what was recorded for fiscal year 2023. So that would be a 5% decrease from 2023 to 2024 if these forecasts were realized.”

Kenner attributes the year-over-year downturn in exports to factors such as a stronger dollar and increased competition from countries like Brazil and Argentina.

These updated forecasts highlight the dynamic nature of the agricultural market and underscore the importance of staying informed about global trade trends for farmers and agricultural businesses alike.