Agriculture exports in fiscal year 2012 are expected to match 2011 at $137 billion, according to the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. The forecast for agriculture imports is $105 billion - 11 percent higher than 2011, resulting in an agricultural trade surplus of $32 billion, the third-highest ever.

The value of U.S. rice exports in fiscal 2012 is forecast at $2.1 billion, slightly lower than FY 2011 because of the decrease in production, however, higher long-grain prices will help offset the decrease, the report says.  Rice export volume is forecast to decline 500,000 MT to 3.5 million because of the smaller domestic long-grain crop and competition from medium-grain exporters Australia and Egypt.

"Our farmers are the best in the world at finding consumers far from home," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement yesterday after the release of the Farm Income and Agriculture Outlook reports.  "Today, a new forecast of U.S. agricultural exports confirmed that 'Grown in America' products remain in high regard and high demand in the rest of the world."