Fiscal year 2024 is not looking good for farm exports, already down through 11 months tabulated for fiscal year 2023.
“Unfortunately, I think fiscal year ’24 is probably going to be a little bit challenging for U.S. farm exports,” according to American Farm Bureau Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. “As we’ve seen the U.S. dollar continues to fluctuate, but stay high, it makes our products price above our competitors. And then it makes, of course, imports cheaper.”
Nigh says superior U.S. product quality is not enough to overcome the dollar’s strength, made stronger by rising U.S. interest rates. And other factors hurt exports according to Nigh; “You look at things like a Mississippi River being low that increases transportation costs, you look at competitors having really good growing seasons.”
And then there’s the lapsed farm bill and its market promotion programs that will likely have to be extended at expired levels. Nigh says, “If we continue to see that funding at the same level as it’s been for the last couple of decades, we see that that power, the strength of those allocated funds continue to deteriorate.”
USDA says farm exports through the first 11-months of fiscal year 2023 were down ten percent from the same period in fiscal year 2022—that, after back-to-back record export years.