Final trade numbers for calendar year 2004 show the value of U.S. agricultural exports equaling $61.3 billion for 2004, about $1.7 billion over calendar year 2003, according to USDA's Economic Research Service's latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Update
The record levels left an agricultural trade balance at $7.3 billion for calendar year 2004, compared with $12.2 billion last year. The report highlights that $37.4 billion of imports compete with U.S. products (those products which are not produced in the United States such as coffee, banana and tea). However, "the farm sector's $39.5 billion of output associated with agricultural exports more than offset the $18.1 billion of farm output implicitly lost because of competitive agricultural imports," the report says.
Gains in export values for wheat, corn and cotton basically offset losses in red meats and soybeans.
The report also outlined ways U.S. agricultural trade boosts the overall economy. For instance, every farm export dollar earned stimulated another $1.54 in business activity in calendar year 2003. "The $59.6 billion of agricultural in 2003 produced an additional $92 billion in economic activity. The $92 billion in 2003 supporting activity included $16.8 billion from the farm sector, $5.4 billion from the food processing sector, $20.0 billion from other manufacturing sectors, $14 billion from trade and transportation, and $35.6 billion from other services," ERS reports.