WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2013 – The value of U.S. agricultural exports has doubled over the past decade and growth in developing countries is expected to further increase demand for exports, according to a report released Thursday by the Joint Economic Committee.

The report, “The Economic Contribution of America’s Farmers and the Importance of Agricultural Exports,” offers a state-by-state look at changes in export levels.

The report said U.S. agricultural exports in 2012 made up 10 percent of total exports at a value of $141.3 billion.

“The real value of U.S. agricultural exports has increased substantially over the past decade, due largely to rising demand for food and other agricultural products in developing countries, especially China,” the report said.

The report said one percent of U.S. agricultural export sales went to China in 1993 and four percent in 2002. However, by 2012, it jumped to 18 percent.

“This dramatic increase can be attributed to population and income growth in China, and to its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001,” the report said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., JEC vice chair, said the report highlights the need to pass a long-term, comprehensive farm bill to ensure continued growth.

“American agriculture is feeding and fueling the world while supporting good jobs here at home,” Klobuchar said. “Agricultural exports have been one of the biggest bright spots in our economy these last few years, and our farmers in Minnesota and across the country deserve the certainty of a long-term farm bill so they can continue to succeed.”

The report suggests that Congress could further boost U.S. farm exports by enacting long-term farm bill, reducing barriers to exporting and promoting opportunities for small and new producers, investing in transportation infrastructure, and enacting comprehensive immigration reform to bring stability to the agricultural workforce.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, said the report highlighted the role of U.S. agricultural exports in boosting the economy.

“Agriculture is a bright spot as our economy gets back on track and represents one of the few areas where we actually have a trade surplus,” Stabenow said. “And as the report clearly shows, more exports mean more jobs here at home.”

Stabenow said the report’s results were one of many reasons Congress should move to approve a farm bill before the Sept. 30 expiration of the current policy extension.

“We are only days away from the expiration of the farm bill, so it’s critical that we move ahead immediately,” Stabenow said.

Dale Moore, executive director of public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the report’s recommendations largely track his organization’s priorities – farm bill passage, farm worker needs, and infrastructure improvement.


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