Last week, I was honored to travel home to Delaware to address the importance of the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). As a proud former agriculture secretary for this great state, I know well that for thousands of Delawareans, agriculture is not only a livelihood, but also a way of life.
Delaware boasts nearly 2,500 farms covering almost a half-million acres of land. In 2009 those farms generated more than $1 billion in cash receipts and exported $240 million in agricultural goods. Approximately half of the export value came from poultry, making Delaware the United States’ 12th-largest poultry exporter. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack on the Mississippi River with a grain elevator towering behind him, highlighted how the Korea trade agreement would eliminate tariffs on two-thirds of all U.S. ag exports to Korea and bring $1.8 billion export growth.
I spent yesterday in St. Louis, talking about the importance of trade and smart trade deals to America’s rebounding economy. Within 500 miles of St. Louis, farmers are producing more than three quarters of the nation’s corn and soybean crops, injecting $75 billion into the global economy, supporting 265,000 jobs, and producing $131 billion in crops and livestock. Meanwhile, the Mississippi River moves about 500 million tons of cargo each year, including 60 percent of the nation’s grain exports, accounting for $8.5 billion in exports. USDA recently reported that grain barge traffic around St. Louis is up 126 percent over last year, underscoring the importance of St. Louis to the national economy as a hub for U.S. farm exports. As the heart of the nation’s farm economy, St. Louis is pumping life into the overall economy. Read more »
Agricultural exports were at the forefront during yesterday’s National Export Initiative (NEI) session at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Earlier that day, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber announced the latest agricultural export forecast for fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011), which set the stage for a lot of interest in NEI and a packed afternoon session. President Obama and USDA view exports as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth and job creation. That’s why, under NEI, President Obama set a goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Read more »
This week, seven Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) employees were sworn in as Foreign Service Officers during a ceremony at USDA in Washington, D.C. This group of newly minted Foreign Service Officers will be posted in locales around the world, from Moscow to Brasilia, in their first positions in USDA’s overseas offices. FAS officers begin their Foreign Service careers as attachés.
FAS Administrator John Brewer officiated the ceremony and was joined by Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter. In what is their first step in a long and successful career in the Foreign Service, Brewer and Vetter presented each new officer with a flag representing the country in which they will be posted. Read more »
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. Read more »