The 2022 Agricultural outlook is strong, but with uncertainties in eastern Europe and South America, according to USDA’s Chief Economist Seth Meyers at this year’s virtual Ag Outlook Forum. Meyers told the 98th Annual Ag Outlook Forum; “We have solid domestic demand. We talked about the strength of exports, the record exports over the last calendar year, obviously supporting commodity prices.”
With exports expected to climb again during this fiscal year by more than $10 billion to more than $183 billion.
“Clearly China has been one of the drivers in improvement in the trade picture. I think I could also read this a couple of other different ways, which is, despite the fact that we’ve seen rising prices, many of our traditional trading partners have held up their demand. As a matter of fact, Mexico is expected to be our number two trading partner.”
Though volume will be key this year as USDA forecasts slight price declines to five dollars a bushel for corn, 12.75 for soybeans, and 6.80 for wheat, pulling farm income down a bit and pushing more acres into soybeans and wheat.
But the war in Ukraine could impact trade and even food prices, though Secretary Tom Vilsack cautioned; “I think it’s too early to talk about Ukraine, as it relates to Europe, but I think from a U.S. perspective, I don’t foresee a circumstance where American consumers, on the food side, are necessarily going to (be) impacted and see the kind of impact and effect those European consumers would see.”
That’s largely due to the vast U.S. production capacity that USDA is working to expand even more post-pandemic. Vilsack announced 150 million dollars in grants to build and expand meat processing capacity, with some 500 million dollars to follow this summer, plus 40 million dollars now for worker training and 25 million for technical help.