Farm Exports Rise as Drought Deepens

Despite the ongoing drought that is plaguing farmers across the country, farm exports are on the rise. This, combined with record-breaking farm profits, is leading some environmental organizations to questions the wisdom and necessity of major farm subsidies.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate, farm exports are on track to rise by 5.1 percent in the next fiscal year, a record high in a period already marked by major market expansions. The value of exported goods is also expected to rise, increasing about $7 billion (to a high of $143.5 billion).

This major increase in farm exports is occurring in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recent American history. From California to Ohio, farmers are experiencing record high temperatures and record low precipitation. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than one-third of the country is currently experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions.

While the export rise may seem unlikely in the midst of the drought, it represents, in large part, the increased market value of drought-stricken crops. According to the USDA, corn’s share of farm export revenue will increase by more than 3 percent due to the major drop in supply. In addition, the USDA’s efforts to expand free trade agreements (the most recent being treaties with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea) are pushing up the amount and value of American farm exports.

This recent announcement, combined with USDA predictions of record-breaking American farm profits, have led some deficit hawks and environmental groups to questions the wisdom of expanded farm subsidies and farm support programs.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer