USDA upped its fiscal year (FY) 2005 forecast of agricultural exports from $56 billion to $59 billion, which would make FY 2005 the third-highest export sales year. The FY 2004 figure was $62.3 billion, and FY 1996 was $59.8 billion.

Canada is expected to remain the No. 1 market for U.S. agriculture products at $10.2 billion, while Mexico ($8.5 billion) will surpass Japan ($7.7 billion) for the first time.

Agriculture imports are forecast at a record $58 billion, continuing a 35-year upward trend that's quickened since 2003. With exports lower in 2005, the trade surplus should be about $1 billion.

USDA's summary and full “Outlook for U.S. Ag Trade” report are available at