Report: Nebraska commodity exports down almost $200 million from 2016 to 2017

The Nebraska Farm Bureau published their new international trade report early Thursday and the news is mixed.

Per the report, trade disputes have now left a noticeable impact on Nebraska commodities.

“Overall Nebraska export commodities out of the state in 2017 were less than they were in 2016 by about $200 million, and most of that is due to loss of exports in soybeans, which is our largest export commodity, and corn,” said Jay Rempe, Senior Economist for the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

In total, Nebraska exported $6.4 billion dollars worth of farm commodities in 2017, down from $6.6 billion the year before.

The losses were particularly hard on corn and soybeans. Corn exports were down $140 million and soybean down $130 million in 2017 compared to 2016. Nebraska Farm Bureau says rhetoric surrounding fair trade is likely why.

“Some of the trade rhetoric, some of the trade disputes that were starting to ramp up in 2017 with the Trump Administration and Mexico and Canada and China and I think we’re seeing a reflection of that in some of these numbers,” said Rempe.

It’s not all bad news, however. Beef and pork exports saw tremendous growth between 2016 and 2017, partially offsetting the losses from corn and soybean. The price per head of cattle rose nearly $57 to $225 per head in that time span. That trend is expected to continue.

However, now that retaliatory tariffs are in place against United States commodities, it’s believed next year’s report for 2018 exports will show even further declines in grain.

“The beef exports will offset a little bit of what’s happening with soybeans but I anticipate overall exports will be down again when we get the 2018 data as well,” said Rempe.

One positive note for Nebraska grain farmers…as pork and cattle production increases, more feed will be needed, and that feed will likely come from corn and soybean producers. This means while less might be exported overseas, more might stay within Nebraska’s own borders.

If you would like to read the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s entire report, you can click this link:

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