Yesterday, I was honored to represent the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the ‘New Markets, New Jobs’ conference held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Minnesota is one of our agricultural trade leaders, ranking sixth among all 50 states for U.S. farm exports, generating nearly $8 billion in economic activity from agricultural trade. This made it the perfect setting to launch a year-long, multi-city campaign focused on supporting our nation’s small and medium-sized businesses as they face the many challenges of global trade.
Encompassing half of all employment and economic activity in the United States, the success of these businesses is critical to our achieving President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling overall U.S. exports by 2014.
To support and encourage increased international trade among these agribusinesses, USDA is proud to award an additional $200,000 to the four state regional trade groups (SRTG) to implement NEI outreach projects. More than 400 food and agricultural enterprises nationwide will reap the benefits of this new effort, which will enhance USDA’s export readiness training through special seminars and mentoring.
In the Twin Cities and in agricultural communities across the country, we see the continued contributions farmers and ranchers make toward bettering the economy, especially when it comes to global trade. Just last week, in fact, we announced that U.S. agricultural exports had a record year in 2010, reaching an all-time high of $115.8 billion. Good news about agricultural exports is good news for all Americans. For every $1 billion in agricultural exports, 8,000 American jobs are supported and an extra $1.4 billion in economic activity is generated.
We’re proud of the success we’ve achieved so far and are focused on setting and surpassing bigger agricultural export goals in the future. We currently project that by end of fiscal year 2011, farm exports will soar to an unprecedented $126.5 billion. With the hard work and determination of American farmers, ranchers and the businesses that support them, we are confident we will continue to meet the challenges laid before us.
To learn more about the ‘New Markets, New Jobs’ campaign as well as NEI, visit this website.