As the U.S. economy finds the road to recovery, agriculture continues to lead the way.
Earlier this month, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced major victories for both the agricultural and U.S. economies.
Farm exports are up. Way up. And according to the USDA, they are predicted to reach $126.5 billion in 2011 alone-an all-time record high.
"The new high exceeds fiscal year 2008, formerly the highest level on record…by $11.6 billion, and tops a strong fiscal 2010 by $17.8 billion." Vilsack also commented on the fact that agriculture continues to support one of the only remaining trade surpluses in the nation, which is expected to reach $41 billion this year.
So, what does this surge in agricultural exports mean for the American people?
From a global standpoint, this tells us that the demand for U.S. commodities, especially food, is up. In China, Southeast Asia, North America and the Middle East, sales have surged, and according to a recent Bloomberg article, "Agriculture already is giving President Barack Obama a boost toward his goal of doubling overseas sales of U.S. goods by 2015."
The current upswing in agricultural exports makes even more of a difference at home, however. The return that we see on these exports is a major boon to a struggling economy that otherwise relies heavily on importing goods and exporting production.
"Today's report is particularly encouraging news for all Americans during trying economic times, especially those who live in rural America or earn a living in farming, ranching and agriculture-related industries such as transportation," Vilsack said in a statement. "Each $1 billion in exports supports 8,000 jobs, meaning that agricultural exports alone in fiscal 2011 are expected to support more than 1 million U.S. jobs."
If U.S. agriculture remains strong, the U.S. economy is sure to follow. So it's in our best interest to protect what has consistently been one of our greatest assets, and is quickly becoming one of our rarest.
As always, Secretary Vilsack was sure to give credit where credit is due. "The strong work ethic, deep values and incredible productivity in rural America is helping U.S. agriculture lead our nation's recovery."
Now that's a lead worth following.
--Source, The Hand That Feeds U.S.