The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its second Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade in fiscal year 2013 today, and the latest forecast continues an astonishing trend for American farm exports that began in 2009. In the years since, U.S. agricultural exports have climbed more than 50 percent in value, from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most-recent forecast of $145 billion in 2013. Overall, these exports support more than 1 million American jobs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement on the forecast:
"Today's forecast is further confirmation of the concerted effort by President Obama to expand export opportunities and level the playing field for American businesses and workers. Because USDA is working harder than ever to remove unfair barriers to trade and provide businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets, American agriculture is booming. Demand for products like American soybeans, wheat and tree nuts is surging across the world, with notable gains in China, Europe, and Southeast Asia expected to support strong cash receipts through year. Earlier in the week, USDA forecast net farm income at its second-highest level since the 1970s. Taken together, this data shows a robust agricultural economy poised to recover from the worst drought in more than a generation.
"Since 2009, more than 1,000 U.S. companies and organizations--mainly small and medium sized businesses--participated in 110 USDA-endorsed trade shows in 24 countries, racking up 12-month projected sales estimated at more than $4.2 billion. We've led nearly 150 U.S. businesses on trade missions to China, Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Panama, Peru, the Philippines Vietnam and Russia. And we're keeping good-paying jobs here at home by resolving issues and removing barriers to trade that have freed up billions of dollars in American-grown products.
"As our farmers and ranchers look forward to a new growing season, agriculture will continue to be a major contributor to the President's goal of doubling exports under the National Export Initiative by the end of 2014.
"It is important that Congress help ensure that this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers and businesses, and their millions of customers around the world."