A Comprehensive Farm Bill Will Promote Markets At Home And Abroad While Meeting Our Global Trade Commitments
The agriculture sector and farm exports have been one of the brightest points for the U.S. economy.
- The current value of U.S. exports is more than $140 billion, with the past five years representing the highest agriculture sales levels in the nation's history.
- U.S. agricultural exports have out-paced U.S. agricultural imports since 1960, generating a surplus in U.S. agricultural trade.
Trade promotion provisions in a new Farm Bill and continued commitment to developing markets at home and abroad will be key to maintaining strong farm incomes over the next 5 years.
- The Farm Bill authorized USDA's trade promotion efforts, which are estimated to generate a return of $35 in economic benefits for every one dollar invested. These programs help approximately 70 U.S. agricultural producer organizations, each representing hundreds or thousands of producers, expand commercial export markets for their goods abroad.
- The Farm Bill also facilitates export financing of U.S. agricultural exports, which helped generate sales of more than $4.1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports in 2012 – including high-valued products like port, forest products, almonds, fish and fresh fruit.
A comprehensive Farm Bill will support the growth of global and domestic organic market opportunities by providing critical data, research and program supports for organic farming, sales of which doubled from 2002-2012. These investments also provide valuable information about drought-resistant and soil-conserving practices, which benefit all U.S. agriculture
Farm Bill-authorized programs support the development of physical infrastructure and technical assistance to locally-based organizations engaged in marketing, food safety and production research and training. Between 2009 and 2012, USDA supported over 2,600 projects nationwide to build new market opportunities in local and regional foods.
Passage of comprehensive Farm Bill also is necessary to resolve the Brazil WTO dispute, which if not resolved is likely to result in trade retaliation against the United States.
A Comprehensive Farm Bill Will Promote Innovation And Productivity By Supporting Key Research Initiatives
Agricultural research and development generates high payoffs for farmers and the public: research shows that investing in agricultural R&D generates social rates of return of 20-60% annually.
- Between 1948 to 2011, U.S. agricultural output grew at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent, and total farm production more than doubled– with innovation-driven productivity growth accounting for most of this growth.
- Research programs today address a broad array of problems facing U.S. agriculture including food supply and security, bio-energy development, increased climate variability, plant and animal health, water availability and quality, food safety, and nutrition and childhood obesity.