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USDA raises agricultural export and import forecasts for 2024

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On the week of March 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) raised its agricultural export and import forecasts for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 by $1 billion each.

Now, 2024 exports are forecast at $170.5 billion and imports are forecast at $201 billion, with a $30.5 billion ag trade deficit, which would be the largest ever recorded and nearly double the current record of $16.7 billion in FY 2023. 


According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service Situation and Outlook Report, created by ERS Coordinators Bart Kenner, Hui Jiang and James Kaufman and published on Feb. 28, ag exports for 2024 are now projected at $179.5 billion, up one billion from the November forecast. 

“Exports of livestock and dairy, as well as grains and feeds, lead the increase, which more than offset reductions in oilseeds and products,” reads the report. 

Now, livestock, poultry and dairy exports are expected at $37.7 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion. 

Beef exports are projected at $700 million due to tight domestic supplies and rising values, pork exports are expected at $600 million due to higher prices and robust shipments to American markets and dairy prices are up $500 million due to higher prices for key products. 

Likewise, grain and feed exports are forecast up $700 million to $38.2 billion, with cotton exports expected at $6 million, up $300 million on higher unit values.

Exports of horticultural products and ethanol are set to remain unchanged at $39.5 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively, while oilseed and product exports are expected to fall $1 billion to $36.2 billion, almost entirely due to lower soybean volume and unit values, according to USDA ERS.

The report further notes China is expected to remain the largest market for U.S. ag exports at $28.7 billion, an $800 million reduction from the previous forecast, due to strong competition from South America for soybeans and corn. 

“Exports to Mexico are forecast to rise by $500 million to a record $28.4 billion, whereas exports to Canada are forecast up $300 million to $28 billion,” reports USDA ERS. “U.S. agricultural imports in FY 2024 are forecast at $201 billion, an increase of $1 billion from the November projection, which is predominantly driven by higher beef imports, raised $1.2 billion to $10.1 billion.”


According to the USDA ERS report, U.S. FY 2024 imports are forecast at $201 billion, up $5.6 billion from the $195.4 billion recorded in 2023 and $1 billion higher than the November forecast. 

“This upward revision mainly comes from livestock and products, and to a lesser degree, grain products and vegetable oils,” explains the department. 

With USDA’s recent revision, livestock, poultry and dairy imports are forecast to rise $1.1 billion to $28.1 billion, with higher beef and pork imports offsetting lower dairy imports. 

The beef import forecast was raised $1.2 billion to $10.1 billion, while live cattle imports were raised $100 million to $2.6 billion. Likewise, pork imports increased $100 million, with live swine import values and poultry and products remaining unchanged. 

Dairy imports were lowered $200 million, as U.S. domestic prices for cheese, butter and whey have become more competitive on the international market, according to USDA ERS.

Additionally, the USDA’s forecast for horticultural product imports was revised to $98.1 billion, one percent above the FY 2023 reports and a downward adjustment of $300 million from the November projection. 

This includes a higher forecast of fresh fruits, up $400 million to $18.9 billion from the November outlook, as well as a higher forecast of processed vegetables, up $200 million. 

Processed fruit and fresh vegetable imports are set to decline, however, with values adjusted down from the November outlook by $100 million to $8.4 billion and by $400 million to $12.3 billion, respectively. 

Sugar and tropical products were also forecast down $600 million to $28.8 billion, while coffee values are expected down $400 million to $9.1 billion. Additionally, sweeteners and product values are expected lower, reduced $100 million to $7.5 billion. 

On the other hand, USDA adjusted the grains and feed imports forecast up $500 million from the November projection to $22.4 billion, largely due to expectations of continued growth of processed grain products. 

“Grain products, including snack goods and baked goods, largely from Canada, have continued growing and are adjusted up $600 million from the previous forecast to $16 billion. This represents a five percent increase over FY 2023,” notes USDA ERS. “Generally, imports of animal feeds have declined marginally, with the largest exception being pet food from Canada. Food grain imports are expected to be up in FY 2024, driven mostly by rice imports.”

Additionally, imports of oilseeds and products are expected to be up $500 million to $19.7 billion, mostly due to a $500 million upward revision of vegetable oil imports. 

“Vegetable oils comprise more than 60 percent of the value of the category and oil import values are expected to continue to rise, driven by increased import volumes, despite a larger domestic availability of soybeans in FY 2024,” concludes the report. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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