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Foreign sales boost ag economy

By Staff | Feb 27, 2015

Selling products abroad can benefit for all parts of the U.S. economy.

In recent years, however, it has been especially important to American agriculture.

According to information released late last month by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, fiscal years 2009 to 2014 were the best six years in the nation’s history for agricultural trade. Vilsack said U.S. agricultural product exports totaled $771.7 billion during this period. He said that agricultural exports support roughly 1 million American jobs.

Lawmakers in Washington are currently debating a renewal of the authority of the president to negotiate trade deals with other nations. These pacts are essential if agricultural sales abroad are to continue and grow.

Major national organizations representing farmers are supporting renewing the trade promotion authority that has helped boost agricultural exports. Among them are the National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Vilsack took note of this trade-group backing in a statement released Jan. 26:

“It is no surprise that agricultural producers are joining the chorus of voices calling on Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority,” he said. “New trade agreements that help level the playing field for agriculture will build on the success we’ve seen in the agricultural economy since 2009 and help producers create more new jobs across the country. What makes the agricultural economy stronger makes our entire nation’s economy stronger.”

Renewing the president’s Trade Promotion Authority is good for Iowa and good for America. There is substantial bipartisan support for doing so. Congress should act promptly to ensure that the president has the tools necessary to enable the growth in American exports to continue.

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