Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement today on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's export forecast for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, which shows a level of U.S. agricultural exports unmatched in our nation's history.
"Today's export forecast marks indication of an historic achievement for America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses. Even with tough odds due to extreme weather, U.S. agriculture is now poised for three consecutive years of record exports, smashing all previous records and putting America's agricultural sector on pace to achieve President Obama's goal under the National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014. These exports will support more than 1 million jobs in communities across the country.
"Exports of U.S. food and agricultural products are expected to reach $143.5 billion in fiscal 2013, well above the record set in 2011. At the same time, the forecast for fiscal 2012 is revised upward to a near-record $136.5 billion. Since 2009, U.S. agricultural exports have made gains of 50 percent.
"When we look beyond the remarkable results, we see two strong storylines. The first is a story of American innovation and resiliency. U.S. agriculture as a whole is resilient thanks to producers' ability to innovate, reduce their debt and capitalize on expanding market opportunities. The second is a President who has laid the groundwork for success in rural America. Since 2009, under the President's National Export Initiative, the Obama Administration has renegotiated and implemented important trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia, expanded trade in organics with the European Union, removed hundreds of unfair barriers to trade for American companies, and provided businesses the credit, knowledge and connections they need to reach new markets.
"At the same time, the Obama Administration has invested in rural America's future with support for renewable energy and bio-based products that provide rural communities with a sure path toward a sustainable period of growth and innovation.
"Thanks to this successful partnership, U.S. agriculture is stronger today than at any time in our nation's history, supporting and creating good American jobs for millions.
"Congress needs to help ensure that this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers and ranchers."