There were headwinds getting there, but U.S. agriculture exports achieved a record last year. USDA data shows 2021 exports of U.S. farm and food products totaled $177 billion, 18 percent higher than 2020 and nearly 15 percent higher than the previous record set in 2014.
American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Economist Veronica Nigh says inflation was a part of the growth.
“Of course, increased commodity prices and rising global inflation contributed to that. About two-thirds of that increase can be attributed to increases in price, and then about a third attributed to increases in quantity exported. So, certainly a lot of price action but additional product being shipped as well.”
Nigh says the record comes despite several challenges in 2021, some of which are continuing this year.
“We continue to have supply chain issues,” she said. “We continue to have transportation-related issues. The disruption that we’re seeing in Canada is certainly going to add up. In the U.S., we export about $24 million in ag products each day across that Detroit crossing. So, the longer that piles up, the more challenging it will be. So hopefully, of course, we’ll continue to have record exports in 2022, but there’s still a lot of headwinds for exporters to achieve those goals.”
China failed to reach the full obligation under the Phase One Agreement. That means more untapped export potential.
“The Phase One Agreement ended at the end of 2021. We saw them miss their overall import level by about $13 billion over the 2020-2021 range. So, while we had record exports to that country, they could have been higher, and we see that reflected in the market share data.”
Nigh explains U.S. market share has yet to recover from the trade dispute that we’ve had with the Chinese.