From Canada to Ukraine, U.S. farm exports are facing the unforeseen and the unknown.
American Farm Bureau Senior Economist Veronica Nigh says the anti-vax Canadian trucker blockade that started at the Ambassador Bridge and spread west is a threat to U.S. agriculture. “We average almost 24 million dollars in U.S. ag exports to Canada through that Detroit port every day. Live pigs coming into the U.S. for slaughter, U.S. grain going to Canada to feed those pigs.”
Jeopardizing a 25-billion-dollar annual ag trade, the U.S.’s third-biggest behind China and Mexico. And now, a possible Russian war is brewing against Ukraine, eastern Europe’s “breadbasket” for wheat and corn. “In 2020, they exported almost 8-and-a-half billion dollars of those two products, alone, with much of it destined for China.”
Which Nigh says could shift more of its buying to the U.S. if Russia attacks Ukraine.
“The world is holding its breath and hoping that that’s not where this ends up. But certainly, what we’ve seen in U.S. agriculture in the last few years is when there are disputes between countries, agriculture is oftentimes one of the products that has tariffs or sanctions applied first.”
Russia, also a big wheat exporter, was the target of then-President Jimmy Carter’s infamous 1980 grain embargo that hurt U.S. farmers. Russia had invaded Afghanistan the year before.