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Ag trade continues to boom

America’s economy would be more robust if this nation were able to sell in the international marketplace more of the products that are made or grown here. Unfortunately, achieving a positive trade balance overall has been an illusive goal.

The nation’s agricultural sector, however, continues to be a trade bright spot.

For fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that agricultural exports will slump a bit to $140.5 billion. That’s down from an impressive $152.5 billion in 2014, but if it proves correct will still the third highest on record. The trend has been on the upswing in recent years. As recently as 2009, agricultural exports totaled only $96.3 billion. Quite clearly, the increase since then has been dramatic.

Late last month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued this upbeat appraisal of the agricultural trade picture.

“The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues, with a trade surplus of more than $23 billion, a $1 billion increase from earlier projections for fiscal year 2015,” Vilsack said in a statement issued May 28. “Fiscal years 2009 to 2014 represent the strongest six years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $771.7 billion. For many American products, foreign markets now represent more than half of total sales.”

Vilsack said the nation’s agricultural exports support 1 million jobs across the U.S. Many of those jobs are in farm states – Iowa very much included.

The Messenger agrees with Vilsack that stimulating international sales is very much in America’s interest. The success the farm sector is showing in this regard illustrates that the potential benefit is enormous.

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