According to the USDA, 2021 farm and food exports totaled $177 billion, an 18% year-over-year increase, and nearly 15% higher than the previous record set in 2014.

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“Of course, increased commodity prices and rising global inflation contributed to that," said American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Economist Veronica Nigh. "About two-thirds of that increase can be attributed to increases in price, and then about a third attributed to increases in quantity exported. So, certainly a lot of price action but additional product being shipped as well.”

Nigh said the record comes despite several challenges in 2021, some of which have continued into 2022.

“We continue to have supply chain issues, we continue to have transportation-related issues. The disruption that we're seeing in Canada is certainly going to add up. In the U.S., we export about $24 million in ag products each day across that Detroit crossing. So, the longer that piles up, the more challenging it will be. So hopefully, of course, we'll continue to have record exports in 2022, but there's still a lot of headwinds for exporters to achieve those goals.”

And, she noted, China failed to reach the full obligation under Phase One, leaving further untapped export potential.

“The Phase One Agreement ended at the end of 2021. We saw them miss their overall import level by about $13 billion over the 2020-2021 range," Nigh pointed out. "So, while we had record exports to that country, they could have been higher, and we see that reflected in the market share data. U.S. market share has yet to recover from the trade dispute that we've had with the Chinese.”

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