Strawberry Plant Demand High and US Farm Exports Reach Record High
**People have been buying more strawberries during the pandemic, which has increased demand for the starter plants farmers use to grow the crop.
Northern California nurseries that produce strawberry transplants are reporting more orders to meet demand in every North American growing region.
Plant breeders have also been developing strawberry plants that yield more berries and resist plant diseases, while retaining high flavor.
**The USDA’s quarterly ag trade forecast projects fiscal year 2021 U.S. farm exports at $164 billion, the highest on record.
This represents an increase of 21% from the last fiscal year, and a $7-billion increase from USDA’s previous forecast published in February.
The previous export record of $152.3 billion was set in 2014.
Key drivers of the surge include a record outlook for China, record export volumes and values for several key products, sharply higher commodity prices, and reduced foreign competition.
**A market analyst says corn is one of the U.S. commodities being "punished" by a sudden shift in Chinese trade policy.
www.agrimarketing.com reports, Global Commodity Analytics president Mike Zuzolo says customs authorities in China began restricting imports last week.
He says high commodity prices prompted the move as China works to recover from the pandemic.
Bloomberg reports several Chinese feed mills recently canceled U.S. cargoes, but Zuzolo doesn’t expect China's appetite for corn to be significantly curtailed.