According to agricultural trade officials, American farm exports, one of the brightest spots in the U.S. economic outlook, are likely to decline by $1 to $2 billion this year due to the drought.
For the past several months, farmers across the country have been at the mercy of a severe and ongoing drought that dried fields, withered crops, and halted production in several states. With summer temperatures reaching record highs, many farmers saw thousands of dollars worth of farm investments and months of planning wilt in the heat.
Given the severity of the drought, it’s not surprising that the climatelogical crisis will impact farm exports. In particular, the shrinking supply of grains has driven up the cost of animal feed, raising meat prices. While the crop loss represents a major hit for many farmers, the threat to meat production could signal long-term trade difficulties.
Meat sales have been on the rise for the past several years. Last year alone, beef and pork exports totaled more than $13 billion. If prices continue to increase, meat exports could drop as foreign consumers turn to domestic production.
According to U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Isi Siddiqui, however, it is unlikely that a one-year dip will lead to a slowdown of U.S. trade.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer