U.S. farm exports will rise 5.1 percent to a record in the next fiscal year as overseas buyers pay more for tight supplies of crops damaged by the worst drought in 50 years, the government forecast.
Shipments will increase to $143.5 billion in the year starting Oct. 1 from a revised $136.5 billion in the current year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a quarterly report. Export revenue from corn, the most-valuable U.S. crop, will rise 3.4 percent to $12.1 billion as the drought pushes grain prices to records.
“Grain and feed exports are expected up, driven largely by higher wheat volume and value, but also supported by higher corn unit values,” the USDA said in the report. “Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products are forecast marginally lower as declines in dairy, pork, and poultry outweigh growth in beef.”
Since mid-June, corn futures have surged 60 percent as the dry conditions wither crops. Soybeans are up 34 percent and wheat 44 percent. The drought may push food inflation as high as 4 percent in 2013, the USDA said last week. The department has declared natural disasters in more than 1,800 counties in 35 states, more than half of the country’s total, mostly because of the dry, hot weather.
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