USDA is projecting record U.S. ag exports for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, with corn, soybeans and horticultural products accounting for most of the expansion. Exports are expected to reach $68 billion in FY 2006, and $72 billion in FY 2007. The previous record was $62.5 billion in FY 2005.

USDA says the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will account for a third of all U.S. ag exports. Canada and Mexico are expected to import $19.6 billion this fiscal year and $23.7 billion in FY 2007.

Meanwhile, ag imports are forecast to reach $64.5 billion in 2006 and $68.5 billion in FY 2007. The increases are due to fresh fruits, vegetables and wines.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent