Peace Corps Volunteers receiving training on screwworm surveillance program from APHIS employees in Panama.
Over the past few months, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), as part of the U.S. Panama Commission for Eradication of Screwworm, has started to partner with Peace Corps Volunteers in Panama to enhance APHIS’ surveillance activities. Volunteers will be working in rural Panama and meeting with local communities to raise awareness about as well as report suspected cases of New World screwworm, one of the most costly and economically significant pests of livestock in South America.
The New World screwworm is a parasite of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Female screwworms are attracted to and lay their eggs in exposed flesh wounds. After eggs hatch, larvae burrow and feed on flesh, causing severe tissue damage and may even be lethal to the host. The screwworm was eradicated from the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Curacao and, finally, all of Central America in 2006 using the Sterile Insect Technique in which sterile male flies are released in massive numbers to mate with wild female populations. The mated female flies then lay non-viable eggs, leading to a decrease and subsequent eradication of screwworm populations. To prevent the screwworm from spreading north of South America, The Commission is maintaining a barrier at the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, by utilizing both preventive release of sterile flies and field surveillance. Read more »
Over the course of 2013, we’ve seen yet another banner year for U.S. agricultural exports. Exports of U.S. farm and ranch products reached a record $140.9 billion in 2013 and supported about a million U.S. jobs. In fact, compared to the previous five-year period from 2004-2008, U.S. agricultural exports from 2009-2013 increased by a total of nearly $230 billion.
All told, the past five years represent the strongest five-year period in our nation’s history for agricultural exports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has focused on two key factors in recent years to help make this success possible. First, an unprecedented effort by USDA and our Federal partners to expand and grow markets around the world. Second, a commitment to make sure our farmers and ranchers have the tools to grow more, even in the face of uncertainty. Read more »
The Foreign Agricultural Service recently launched an online tool, called the Agricultural Tariff Tracker, to help exporters obtain information about tariff reductions resulting from world-wide free trade agreements.
The United States has free trade agreements with 20 countries around the world that expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural producers. To help exporters obtain information about tariff reductions resulting from these FTAs, the Foreign Agricultural Service recently launched the Agricultural Tariff Tracker.
“The tracker was developed in response to requests from the agricultural export community for more detailed information about export opportunities resulting from FTAs,” said Jeff Jones, a senior policy advisor with FAS. “Though we’ve seen significant expansion in U.S. agricultural exports as a result of our trade agreements, there will be even more opportunities for U.S. agricultural exporters in the future as tariffs continue to fall throughout implementation,” he said. “Providing more information in a user-friendly format will allow exporters to maximize the potential of these agreements.” Read more »
The past four years have been tremendously positive for America’s efforts to export more agricultural goods and products around the world.
The brand of American agriculture is soaring worldwide. In fact, 2009 to 2012 represents the best four years in our nation’s history for agricultural exports. Exports have grown more than 50% over that period of time.
We have reason to believe that more good news is ahead. Recently, USDA economists forecast agricultural product exports for next year to exceed $145 billion. That would set yet another new record – and it would allow agricultural exports to continue supporting more than a million jobs. Read more »
Grain exports represent 17 percent of the total cargo that flows through the Panama Canal and 90 percent of those grains are from the United States. Under the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (Panama TPA), which entered into force Oct. 31, U.S. grains and other agricultural products exported to Panama will be completely duty-free within 15 years.
The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (Panama TPA) entered into force Oct. 31, expanding market access for U.S. agricultural exporters in one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The Panama TPA is the last in a trio of trade agreements (South Korea and Colombia are the others) that altogether are expected to boost U.S. agricultural exports by $2.2 billion when fully implemented. Read more »
Juan Carlos Cadena (left), Colombia’s Director of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and Bryce Quick, Associate Administrator for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, participate in a welcome plenary session for a USDA trade mission with Panama and Colombia, which took place in Bogota Nov. 14-17. With 24 U.S. agricultural companies participating, it was the largest delegation ever on a USDA trade mission. Photo by Fernando Soto, U.S. Embassy Bogota.
Last week, I was honored to travel to Bogotá and lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade mission with Panama and Colombia. Read more »