The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases forecasts on many topics, quarterly agricultural trade outlooks among them. Though talk of future windfalls in ag exports have been talked up in the news due to the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, the USDA’s December outlook for 2016 exports doesn’t paint quite as rosy a picture.

In numbers, the USDA is forecasting 2016 ag exports to total $131.5 billion, which is more than $8 billion below 2015 numbers. The reasons behind the forecasted downturn in export totals, despite the TPP, include lower prices, strong competition, and diminishing Chinese demand, according to the USDA. Most exports, from grain and feed to wheat to livestock, poultry and dairy are all forecast to decrease. Only horticulture exports are forecast to remain unchanged.

U.S. imports, however, are forecast at a record $122 billion, which is up $8 billion over 2015 imports. The country’s agricultural trade surplus is forecasted at $9.5 billion, which is down from $25.7 billion in 2015, the lowest level since fiscal 2006.

While such forecasts aren’t trending upwards as we would all like, there are few industries in this country that are so adept at making it through the tough times as the agriculture industry. As always, AgAmerica Lending will be here to offer farm lending to help the country’s farmers and ranchers to grow and succeed. We offer low interest rates, long amortizations, and an outstanding 10-year line of credit.