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USDA raising expectations for U.S. farm exports

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 8:13 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - USDA economists have raised their expectations for U.S. farm product exports for the current fiscal year which runs through the end of September. Their new estimate is $164 billion which would be the highest total ever and 7 billion dollars more than their earlier estimates. Previously our best year for farm exports was back in 2014 when we sold just over $152 billion worth of U.S. farm products overseas. China is expected to be our best customer because of their needs for corn and soybeans. They are expected to spend $35 billion this year for U.S. farm products—up about 6 billion from their biggest buying year of 2014. Our other top customers continue to be Canada, Mexico, Japan, the European Union and South Korea.

Using real data from grocery stores across the country, USDA economists have raised their forecast for prices at those stores to 1 and a half to 2 and a half percent for this year. Overall food price inflation is still expected to be between 2 and 3 percent this year with prices up to 3 and a half percent higher for food eaten away from home. Expected to lead the way are higher prices for meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products because of higher feed costs and increasing domestic demand as well as after effects from bad winter storms across the country earlier this year.

It’s time for farmers who want to preserve their land in agriculture to come together as a group and petition the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for a designation as an Agricultural Enterprise Area. That designation would protect the land for agricultural production for at least the next 15 years and provide tax benefits for the landowners involved. There are currently more than 40 AEAs across the state with the newest one in this area being the South Fork, Clark County AEA in Mead and Reseburg townships. That AEA includes over 20,000 acres. The deadline to apply for a new AEA is August 2nd.

As of a month ago, there were 50,000 hired farm workers in the 3 state Lakes region of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan-about 3,000 less than last April. But their salaries were bigger. The average farm worker earned $15.75 an hour last month-up 49 cents from last April. Field workers earned the most-$16.53.

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