Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan Omaha discusses the recent rise in U.S. fruit exports and what it means for farmers.
Fruit exports within the United States rose in the month of May, and not by a small margin. In fact, fruit exports rose roughly 10 percent in comparison to May 2019. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the export of fresh fruits reached $367 million in May. Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan Omaha recently discussed this rise and what it means for farmers across the country.
“As farmers, we’re pleased to see a rise in fruit exports,” Steve Buchanan Omaha said. “However, during these period we’ve seen almost an equal drop in vegetable exports.”
Steve Buchanan Omaha explained that while fruit exports have risen, vegetable exports have fallen. However, he stated that farmers are not disappointed. Steve Buchanan Omaha explained that a drop in the value of potato exports and lettuce accounted for much of the vegetable export decline, and that number is expected to rise again in the future.
“We’re seeing a very large increase in the demand for cherry and other berry exports, which is really increasing their value,” Steve Buchanan Omaha explained. “I suspect myself and fellow farmers will begin focusing more on our berry crops.”
Steve Buchanan Omaha added that a number of fruits have seen major increases in demand over the past year. Cherry exports are amazingly up by 57.8 percent, berry exports are up by 14.1 percent, and melons are up 30.9 percent. Steve Buchanan Omaha explained the market for fruits and vegetables is constantly changing, and farmers are continuously working to adapt. He added that farms saw a decline of 28.4 percent in potatoes and a drop of 10.9 percent in cauliflower.
Steve Buchanan Omaha explained that corn is the state of Nebraska’s most important crop. Wheat, hay, and soybeans follow closely behind. Much of these products are used to feed hogs and cattle on Nebraska farms as well as farms across the country.
“We’re fortunate as farmers in Nebraska, because we don’t have to rely as much on the exporting of our goods,” Steve Buchanan Omaha said. “Much of our corn is used right here in the state or in the states surrounding us.”
Steve Buchanan Omaha explained that Nebraska farmers are fortunate to sell much of their crops locally. He added that corn exports in the U.S. have been down in 2020, likely due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think that as fruit exports begin to rise, farmers across the country need to take note,” Steve Buchanan Omaha said. “That doesn’t mean drop what you’re doing and grow berries. But it does mean it’s important to pay attention to trends, so you boost sales in certain areas when sales in other areas are faltering.”