It has been estimated that a quarter of every dollar, on average, that a U.S. farmer or rancher earns from the farm is due to exports. It may even be higher for some growers.
Our farmers are highly productive. With utmost respect to farmers everywhere, because I know that a strong work ethic abides in all farmers’ hearts, I don’t think anyone can out-produce the American farmer. We’re proud of that, and we’re proud of being what we’ve sometimes called “the breadbasket of the world.”
With so much of our economic sustainability and pride riding on global markets, U.S. farmers are always looking to expand our access to those markets.
Within the past couple of years, the United States has signed trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Japan and China. Now, our government’s trade negotiators are working on a deal with India. Several other countries in the region, such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, are of great interest as growing markets.
Trade deals are one way to grow our access to global markets. Another is through technology, and it’s so exciting to see farmers and consumers from around the globe connecting via online services to create, in effect, a global farmers’ market. It’s amazing to think that a farmer can sell directly to customers, through digital platforms like Alibaba’s, both in their local communities and a continent away, something that was practically unheard of when I was a boy working on my family’s dairy farm.
We need greater understanding and appreciation of global trade, so that it can continue to grow. It is vital that the public understands how access to global markets brings the best of the world to our doors and the best of U.S. agriculture to hungry consumers around the world.
Access to global markets is a win-win!