With the strength of the U.S. dollar continuing to weigh fairly heavily on agricultural exports, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) made this issue the focus of a panel discussion at last week’s USMEF Board of Directors Meeting in St. Louis.

Michael Drury, chief economist for Memphis-based McVean Trading, provided a brief history on how the currencies of so many trading partners and competitors became so weak relative to the U.S. dollar. He said a key factor was the economic slowdown in China, which generated a significant reaction from many commodities-producing countries.

USMEF Economist Erin Borror also served on the panel. She noted that the exchange rate situation seemed to be improving in 2016, but unfortunately the dollar recently gained renewed strength versus several key currencies.