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Farm Exports Seen at Record on High-Priced Tight U.S. Supplies

U.S. farm exports will rise to a record this fiscal year as overseas buyers pay more for tight supplies of crops damaged by the worst drought since the 1930s, the government said.

The value of shipments will increase to $142 billion in the year ending Oct. 1, Joe Glauber, the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said today in a speech at the agency’s annual outlook forum in Arlington, Virginia. The forecast is down from $145 billion projected in November. Exports for the previous year totaled $135.8 billion, the USDA said.

China will be the biggest customer for U.S. farm products for a second straight year, with a projected $22 billion in purchases, mostly soybeans and cotton, the USDA said.

The bulk of the sales will be made before this year’s harvests, which will be larger than last year’s and ease strain on crop inventories, Glauber said. Farmer net income will be a record $128.2 billion in 2013 as growers rebuild drought-depleted inventories, the USDA said last week.

The department will update its agricultural trade estimates in May.

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