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Source: blog by Keith Good, University of Illinois

To view the complete report, click here.

Speaking on Thursday at USDA's virtual Agricultural Outlook Forum, USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer provided a broad outlook for U.S. agriculture. Today's update provides an overview of key aspects of Dr. Meyer's presentation.

In his speech Thursday (transcript / slides), Dr. Meyer noted that, "Grain and oilseed markets are set to end the 2020/21 marketing year with tightening stocks in several key markets because of strong demand. World corn and soybean ending stocks are projected at multi-year lows as are U.S. ending stocks of corn, soybeans, and wheat. The 2020/21 U.S. season average prices for both corn and soybeans are projected at 7-year highs, and these strong prices have supported the entire grains and oilseeds sector."

Dr. Meyer indicated that, "The commitment by China to greatly expand its purchases of U.S. agricultural products (and other goods) has coincided with its effort to rebuild its livestock sector after suffering the devastating effects of a widespread outbreak of African Swine Fever. Sales of agricultural commodities to China accelerated in the summer and fall, and by the end of the year the pace of corn and soybean sales to China was at or approaching new records."

Dr. Meyer added that, "While exports to China were surging, U.S. agricultural sales to Mexico, Japan, Korea and other major trading partners worldwide also remained strong, providing further support to rising prices. Agricultural trade has proved resilient in the face of a global economic contraction and certainly much stronger than non-agricultural and further from what was experienced during the 'great recession' of just over a decade ago. This strength is reflected in USDA's revised forecast for U.S. agricultural trade in FY 2021, with exports now forecast at a record $157.0 billion, or an increase of over $21 billion from FY 2020. Exports to China in FY 2021 are forecast at a record $31 billion, reflecting strong October-December shipments of U.S. soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, and chicken paws."

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