In a year full of inconsistencies, one constant has been agricultural exports. Through the first nine months of the year, the volume of exports are up across the board and here in Wisconsin exports are up by 6%. The major buyer continues to be China, which despite effort to increase domestic production still imports over 5% of their corn, nearly 80% of their soybeans and continue to increase their demand for dairy. Ag economist such as Chad Hart of Iowa State feel because of the export market even a commodity like corn which is looking at a record crop and ample ending stocks still can have a bullish tone this year.
A key of course is to make sure we are a reliable supplier and that our delivery source is viable. That is why farm organization and commodity group leaders are encouraging lawmakers to finally approve the funds to upgrade the locks and dams system. While rail and trucking options are available, waterways by far are the most economical.... and are a real economic benefit over our competitors.
The WRDA Bill was approved several years ago, but without the funds being allocated its not really worth anything. Those who have been fighting over major ag legislation feel of the big three priorities, a new farm bill, immigration reform and WRDA funding, this bill has the best chance to pass this calendar year. And even though very few days remain in this Congressional year, supporters say they are optimistic if for no other reason than the fact that Congress may want to show they could at least pass one meaning piece of legislation during this year of gridlock ....and the WRDA funding bill may just be it.