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'21 Ag sales up to China

WASHINGTON—Good news for Idaho and US farmers, China purchased near-record levels of U.S. farm products last year and that pace continues so far in 2021.

New trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows China purchased a potential new record of U.S. agricultural products in 2020, according to Farm Bureau Economist John Newton.

“For the calendar year 2020, China bought slightly more than $27 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products, which is likely a new record high in terms of exports to China,” said Newton.

Newton says China has already made large purchases of U.S. corn and soybeans in the 2021 marketing year.

“China’s been a very big player in the corn and soybean markets this year. So far, they’ve bought nearly six million metric tons of corn, they’re on the books for more than 11 million metric tons of corn to purchase from the United States, which would be a record. So they’ve been a big player in the corn and soybean markets this year,” said Newton.

The Farm Bureau says the increased trade with China has bolstered market prices for corn and soybeans in the United States.

I think what we’ve seen is since China’s been such a heavy player in the market, it’s helped to reduce our stockpiles this year and as a result, we’ve seen prices move sharply higher in the last few months. Corn is now sitting at around $5.30, soybeans sitting around $13.50, and that’s up 50-60 percent from where we were back in early August. And a lot of that is on the back of strong trade and export demand,” said Newton.

US and Idaho hay exporters are seeing more interest from China and those sales are up as well. For the voice of Idaho Agriculture, I'm Jake Putnam.