WASHINGTON — U.S. agricultural exports surpassed expectations in 2007, generating a record $82 billion for U.S. farm families and the economy in general.
According to the USDA’s 2007/2008 marketing year-end report released Sept. 12, feed grains exports in 2008 largely surpassed 2007 numbers.
U.S. corn exports totaled 59.9 million metric tons (2.35 billion bushels) up 300 million bushels from last year. U.S. sorghum exports totaled 6.1 million tons (240 million bushels) nearly doubling from last year’s 3.3 millions tons (129 million bushels). The 2007 record was broken by $26 billion.
Many things contributed to these record exports, including the weakening U.S. dollar, but hands-on educational and technical market development work was a major factor.
Jim Broten, U.S. Grains Council chairman, said the record exports are direct indicators of the growing demand for U.S. feed grains and co-products around the world.
“The end of the marketing year export numbers undoubtedly indicates growing demand but it also validates the importance of U.S. presence overseas,” said Broten.
“The council is developing new markets, defending existing ones and establishing valuable trade relationships around the world and around the clock. U.S. farmers and agribusinesses are reaping the rewards of many years of investments through the council’s market development initiatives around the globe,” Broten said.
The benefits of having a strong member-driven organization and planning process are now clearly showing the success that those efforts have brought to U.S. agriculture, he explained.
According to Mike Dwyer, chief economist of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the efforts of the U.S. Grains Council, a leading cooperator with FAS, certainly pushed U.S. feed grains exports upward.
“The international market development programs orchestrated by the U.S. Grains Council undoubtedly strengthen livestock industries overseas, thus increasing the demand for feed grains,” said Dwyer.
“Market development, however, isn’t done overnight and much of the increasing demand for feed grains across the globe is a product of information sharing and hands-on development by the U.S. Grains Council years ago.
“The impact of their efforts today to develop new markets and expand those already in existence will be seen more visibly in years to come.”