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Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, visits Maine to Highlight Job Creation through Agricultural Exports

 

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel and Farm Services Agency State Director Donovan Todd (center) give Ambassador Ron Kirk a tour of the Bangor State Fair.

Ambassador Ron Kirk, the US Trade Representative, who is traveling across the country to meet with local business leaders, workers and farmers, visited Maine earlier this month. The Ambassador spoke at several venues, including a Maine International Trade Center roundtable with Maine business leaders involved in international trade, about how fair trade can support well-paying jobs right here at home. He addressed a second roundtable with union representatives, fair trade activists, and agriculture associations, hosted by Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine’s Second District. He finished his visit by meeting Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in the Bangor State Office, a wonderful treat for our teams in Maine.

As Rural Development State Director I worked with FSA  Executive Director Donovan Todd to organize the visit in cooperation with the White House Liaison and USTR staff and accompanied the Ambassador on visits to a blueberry farm in Orland, the Bangor State Fair, and the two roundtables. Ambassador Kirk also visited a paper company in Bucksport.

The Ambassador was received very positively wherever he went on his visit to Maine and truly is a highly effective representative of the Administration’s policies related to agricultural trade and exports. He emphasized that Secretary Vilsack is a critical partner with him in promoting U.S. agricultural exports to assist our producers and processors enter more markets worldwide.

The Bangor State Fair provided the Ambassador the opportunity to meet dairy farmers and to watch a 4-H dairy cow judging contest. While at the Fair Ambassador Kirk talked about the importance of developing global markets for the locally grown products, thereby stimulating the economy and creating good jobs at home.

U.S. exports contributed over one percentage point to GDP growth in each of the last four quarters.  Ambassador Kirk stated that, “At USTR, we’re working to find more market opportunities for American agriculture through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-Korea trade agreement.”  In Maine, almost 75 percent of all exports are sent to the Asia-Pacific Region.

Ambassador Kirk’s White House Blog “Grown Locally and Sold Globally:  Creating Jobs Through Agricultural Exports” supports USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program as well as the Agency’s overall goal of enhancing the economy of rural America by creating well-paying jobs.

Ambassador Ron Kirk holds a baby Kangaroo during his tour of the Bangor State Fair with UDSA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel.

Ambassador Ron Kirk holds a baby Kangaroo during his tour of the Bangor State Fair with UDSA Rural Development State Director for Maine Virginia Manuel.

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