2020 second highest year for U.S. ag exports

Legislative Watch: Ag supports China Phase-One Agreement; USDA reopens CFAP program; Biden infrastructure plan.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

April 9, 2021

4 Min Read
2020 second highest year for U.S. ag exports

Last year was the second highest year for U.S. agricultural exports, according to USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) "2020 U.S. Agricultural Export Yearbook." Total exports were nearly $146 billion, an increase of approximately 7%. This is the second highest level on record, after 2014.

FAS said the primary factor for the increase in exports was the "increased shipments of soybeans, corn and pork to China."

Soybeans were the United States' number one agricultural export at $25.7 billion, an increase of 38% over 2019. Soybeans represented nearly 18% of total U.S. agricultural exports in 2020, with  China accounting for 55% of total soybean exports. 

Corn exports were $9.2 billion, an increase of 20% over 2019, led by a $1.1 billion increase in exports to China.  Mexico and Japan were the top two markets. 

Pork exports rose 11% in 2020 to $7.715 billion. Exports to China increased by 75%, and exports to Japan rose 7%.  FAS said, "Exports to China were buoyed by increased demand for imports following significant reduction of the Chinese herd due to African swine fever (ASF). 

Highlights from the report for 2020:

  • Top 10 U.S. agricultural export markets: China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, EU27-UK, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia.

  • Top 10 U.S. agricultural exports: soybeans ($25.683 billion), corn ($9.210 billion), tree nuts ($8.402 billion), pork & pork products ($7.715 billion), beef & beef products ($7.649 billion), prepared foods ($6.773 billion), dairy products ($6.453 billion), wheat ($6.298 billion), cotton ($5.976 billion) and soybean meal ($4.758 billion).

  • Top 10 export markets for U.S. soybeans: China, EU27-UK, Mexico, Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

  • Top 10 export markets for U.S. corn: Mexico, Japan, China, Colombia, South Korea, Canada, Guatemala, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia.

  • Top 10 export markets for U.S. pork: China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Colombia, Chile, Philippines and Hong Kong.

The FAS report can be found here.

Agriculture supports China Phase-One Agreement

A group of agricultural companies and organizations sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai expressing their appreciation and support for the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement and urging the administration to continue to work to maintain access to the Chinese market for U.S. agriculture.

The organizations said, "The U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement is critical to both the near- and longer-term success and growth of American agriculture – and the millions of American jobs the agricultural sector sustains." 

They continued, "The implementation of this Agreement comes at a key moment. China has emerged as the world's second largest economy with a rapidly growing middle class that will continue to increase its levels of disposable income and desire for improved diets."

Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Leather and Hide Council of America, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Turkey Federation, North American Meat Institute, U.S. Meat Export Federation and U.S. Wheat Associates.

USDA reopens CFAP program

USDA announced this week it was reopening sign-up of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) for another 60 days beginning on April 5.   The initial signup ended on December 11, 2020. 

CFAP 2 provides financial assistance to help offset the costs associated with COVID-19 pandemic For program details on eligible commodities, producer eligibility, payment limitations, etc., visit https://www.farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance/cfap.

Biden infrastructure plan

Readers from last week's column asked for additional details of President Biden's infrastructure proposal, "The American Jobs Plan." This White House link will provide details on infrastructure investments and the tax proposals to pay for the plan.

Janie Simms Hipp nominated as USDA General Counsel

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Janie Simms Hipp to serve as USDA's General Counsel. She currently serves as head of the Native American Agriculture Fund. Previously, Hipp was a national program leader for Farm Financial Management, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Risk Management Education, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development programs at USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). She received an master’s in agriculture law from the University of Arkansas and has been recognized by the American Agriculture Law Association. 

Gonzales named assistant secretary of administration

Oscar Gonzales has been appointed as USDA's assistant secretary for administration. Gonzales held a number of USDA positions during the Obama administration including deputy assistant secretary of administration. Previously, he served as the California State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency.  Gonzales is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. 


Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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