FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Agriculture policy in Ukraine is affecting corn futures prices in Indiana.

A recent increase in futures prices is partly due to foreign affairs between Russia and Ukraine concerning export policies.

“Ukraine is now a very major exporter of corn,” said Richard Brock, president of Brock Associates, an agricultural marketing firm. “They’ve gone from say 2 percent of the world’s exports to 18 to 19 percent of the world’s corn exports.”

There were millions of acres abandoned in Ukraine in the 1970s, he said. Now that the land is coming back into production, Ukraine is becoming a serious player in the corn scene.

“If you talk to Deere or Case about where they see growth opportunities, they’ll tell you Ukraine, Russia and Africa,” Brock said. “There are millions of acres that are farmable. There’s all this history being made right now.”

Economic uncertainty exists in Ukraine because many citizens want to go back to Russian rule. How the situation plays out will affect the agriculture industry and how much the country exports.

Now is the time to keep an eye on what is happening overseas, Brock said.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., exports are at high levels, as well.

“Exports have been super strong and going off the charts,” Brock said. “Our largest buyer of corn is Japan at 14 percent. China will buy about 5 million metric tons of corn this year.”

He predicted that China will want less and less corn from the U.S. as it tries to become self-sufficient. It will, however, have a demand for dried distiller’s grain, a co-product of ethanol production.

China purchased Smithfield, a large pork production company, in 2013. As members of the pork industry, it is paying for protein by the pound, and distiller’s grains are high in protein, Brock said.

Although U.S. corn exports are high, the percentage of global sales has decreased as other countries have upped their game.

“In 2007 and 2008, U.S. farmers had 63 percent of the world corn export market,” Brock said. “Argentina had 15 percent, Brazil, 8 percent.

“Last year, Brazil had 26 percent, and we had 20 percent along with Argentina. That’s why what’s going on over there right now is so important.”