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U.S. Agricultural Exports Set Record in 2021

A news release on Tuesday from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service stated that, “The American agricultural industry posted its highest annual export levels ever recorded in 2021, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today.

The final 2021 trade data published by the Department of Commerce this morning shows that exports of U.S. farm and food products to the world totaled $177 billion, topping the 2020 total by 18 percent and eclipsing the previous record, set in 2014, by 14.6 percent.

The release noted that, “The United States’ top 10 export markets all saw gains in 2021, with six of the 10 – China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Colombia – setting new records.

Worldwide exports of many U.S. products, including soybeans, corn, beef, pork, dairy, distillers grains and pet food, also reached all-time highs.

China remained the top export destination, with a record $33 billion in purchases, up 25 percent from 2020, while Mexico inched ahead of Canada to capture the number two position with a record $25.5 billion, up 39 percent from last year.”

Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning reported this week that, “Corn exports rose 53% and beef shipments climbed 43% in the final three months of last year, compared with the year-earlier period.”

“U.S. Agricultural Exports Topple Record on China, Mexico Demand,” by Mike Dorning. Bloomberg News (February 8, 2022).

Dorning added that, “The Commerce Department data also showed U.S. farmers increasingly dependent on China and a handful of large customers. China accounted for 19% of U.S. farm exports last year, up from 16% in 2015. The top four foreign markets, which also include Mexico, Canada and Japan, accounted for 55% of exports, compared with 52% in 2015.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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