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Agricultural News

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Predicts Farm Exports to Reach $137 Billion

Thu, 01 Sep 2011 09:19:11 CDT

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Predicts Farm Exports to Reach $137 Billion Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on data released today showing that U.S. farm exports are expected to reach $137 billion in fiscal year 2012:

"Today's forecast of continued strong U.S. agricultural exports is encouraging news for those who live in rural America or earn a living in farming, ranching and agriculture-related industries. This has been a tough year for folks across the nation. Hurricanes, floods, drought and other extreme weather have driven thousands of Americans from their homes and threatened our rural communities, which supply our food, feed, fiber and fuel. But American agriculture's response to these challenges has been second to none, and our farmers and ranchers deserve our gratitude.

"The current U.S. export forecast for fiscal year 2011 is $137 billion, $22 billion higher than the previous record set in 2008 and $28 billion above 2010. Moreover, the trade surplus for this year is projected at $42.5 billion the highest surplus on record. Exports for 2012 will remain equally strong, as well, projected at $137 billion with a strong surplus of $32 billion despite a record level of imports. Strong exports have enabled agriculture to remain one of only a few sectors of the U.S. economy to enjoy a trade surplus. At the same time, farm exports will support more than one million jobs in America this year. Strong U.S. farm exports remain a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.

"While demand for bulk commodities will remain strong in 2012, we'll also see greater demand for horticultural products. Fruit and vegetable exports to Canada, Europe and Japan are forecast higher due to a combination of rising demand and value. In addition, strong Chinese demand for almonds, walnuts and pistachios is forecast to continue growing. Furthermore, the volume of beef exports is at a level not seen since 2003.

"Exports to the European Union and Japan are forecast to increase next year, as well. Demand for high-value products is driving shipments to these developed markets. Though exports to China are forecast down slightly due to greater competition from foreign suppliers, China is expected to be tied with Canada as the top U.S. market at $19 billion.

"The export forecast also notes that competition from foreign wheat and cotton suppliers is expected to increase as other countries secure trade agreements. Congress can help U.S. farmers and ranchers sustain these export figures by ratifying the South Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements. When fully implemented, those three agreements will immediately add more than $2 billion per year to our economy and support thousands of additional jobs here at home."

"We also learned yesterday in the Farm Income report that both net cash income and net farm income are record in nominal terms and, adjusting for inflation, are at their highest levels since the early 1970s. Meanwhile, total farm debt declined nearly 2 percent. American agriculture is enjoying these record numbers even as farm expenses are rising, with feed costs up 20 percent and fuel and fertilizer expenses up 24 percent over 2010 levels. That's a major achievement and a testament to our farmers and ranchers, who continue to work hard, innovate and make smart business decisions in these challenging times.

"Less than two percent of Americans consider themselves farmers for a living, but those folks produce 86 percent of all the food Americans consume; they create 1 in 12 jobs in this country; and they consistently account for a robust trade surplus that allows us to keep jobs across a variety of food-related sectors transportation, food packaging, sales here at home. For decades, U.S. agriculture has helped to feed a hungry world, added jobs to our economy and reduced our trade deficit. As we embark on building a stronger America for the future, don't be surprised that American farmers and ranchers are helping to lead the way."

Click here to see the latest export data via the Global Agricultural Trade System.

Click here to see the latest Farm Income data.



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