Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) today hailed a new report that Indiana's farm exports more than doubled over the past decade and supported employment for an estimated 34,800 Hoosiers.
"The report shows the strength of our farm and food processing sectors, and the importance of foreign trade in providing jobs for Hoosiers," said Lugar, a long-time member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who manages a 604-acre family farm in Marion County.
The new Indiana University report, "Cultivating Trade: The Economic Impact of Indiana's Agricultural Exports," said Indiana exported $3.4 billion in commodities and processed goods in 2010, accounting for more than 10 per cent of all state exports. It found that ripple effects from these exports produced $2.2 billion in additional economic activity in the state, bringing the total impact of farm exports to $5.6 billion.
The dollar value of the state's farm exports more than doubled over the past decade, from $1.5 billion in 2000. Indiana farm exports grew at an average annual rate of 8.2 percent, beating the U.S. average rate of 7.6 percent, the report said. Indiana was the eighth largest agricultural exporter in 2010. More than 100,000 Hoosiers worked directly on the state's 62,000 farms or in its processing and food manufacturing plants in 2010, according to the report, which was conducted by Timothy Slaper at IU's Kelley School of Business and co-authored by Tanya Hall.
Lugar, who is also the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long been one of the leaders in Congress seeking to break down trade barriers and open new markets to U.S. farm exports and other products. In the last two Congresses, Lugar received the highest rating in the Senate from the National Foreign Trade Council, which supports legislation to enhance U.S. overseas sales.
Lugar said, "The United States exports roughly 15 percent of our corn production, 45 percent of our soybean production, and 25 percent of our pork production. Exports and investment growth help to sustain high paying jobs in both our farms and factories."