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China Displaces Canada As Top U.S. Customer

China became the No. 1 market for U.S. farm goods in 2010 for the first time, unseating Canada’s traditional spot as the top agricultural buyer, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Feb. 11.

China’s insatiable appetite for U.S. soybeans, used to feed livestock and make vegetable oil, was a key part of the country’s total U.S. farm purchases of $17.5 billion during the calendar year, the USDA said.

Canada bought $16.9 billion worth of U.S. farm goods in calendar year 2010, the USDA said.

Total U.S. farm exports for 2010 were worth $115.8 billion, surpassing the previous calendar-year record of $114.8 billion set in 2008, the USDA said.

U.S. exports are more commonly analyzed by marketing year, which varies between commodities, or fiscal year which begins Oct. 1.

USDA most recently forecast farm exports for fiscal 2011 at a record $126.5 billion, which would be 10 per cent above the record $114.9 billion seen in fiscal 2008.

The next forecast for farm exports is slated for Feb. 24 at the USDA’s annual outlook conference.

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