Vilsack Touts Ag Export Success Under President Obama
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was touting the Obama Administration's efforts to achieve and expand upon record agricultural exports in Pennsylvania Wednesday. The Secretary says exports of U.S. food and agricultural products will achieve the four best years in the nation's history because of greater market opportunities, stronger tools for exporters and a more level playing field for American businesses abroad. U.S. ag exports expanded by more than 20-billion dollars between 2008 and 2011 - supporting more than a million American jobs. Vilsack highlighted the South Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements - as well as USDA actions to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade and provide businesses with the resources needed to reach new markets. He said these efforts have not only resulted in the most successful period in the history of American agriculture - but also a boon for America's rural economies. To help ensure this success continues - Vilsack said Congress needs to pass a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers and businesses.
Along with talking about the impact of the expiration of program authority for the Milk Income Loss Contract program - Vilsack spoke about the expiration of the Market Access Program. He said USDA's market development programs have a long history of helping farmers, ranchers and businesses of all sizes build and maintain commercial markets for U.S. food and agricultural products around the world. According to independent research - agricultural exports increase by 35-dollars for every one-dollar that government and industry invest in market development programs and activities. The latest export forecast shows U.S. farm exports at their second-highest level ever in 2012. The forecast for 2013 is a record 143.5-billion dollars.