The USDA on Thursday released its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report, projecting fiscal year 2014 agricultural exports will reach $149.5 billion – $6.9 billion higher than previous estimates – and a new export record if realized.
The growth is not due just to rising prices on agricultural goods, but also to an increase in the volume of U.S. agricultural exports, which is projected to increase by 31% between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, USDA said.
Last fiscal year, agricultural exports reached $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs in the U.S., USDA said. Fiscal years 2009 to 2013 also represent the strongest five years in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $619 billion over those five years.
"American farmers and ranchers are on track for another year of record exports, which builds on the past five years of the strongest agricultural trade in our history," Vilsack said. "The volume of U.S. agricultural exports has increased, which demonstrates an increasing global appetite for high-quality, American-grown products."
Vilsack said the agency plans to focus its efforts on tapping into new markets for what is grown and made in rural America.
Today, he said, only 1% of U.S. companies export, and yet 95% of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the United States, creating significant opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture.
Resources reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill are expected to help more ag producers finding export markets for their products, Vilsack said.
The Administration's Made in Rural America initiative, launched by President Obama at the 2014 Farm Bill signing, also will further export efforts by helping rural businesses and leaders access federal resources to help them connect with international markets, Vilsack added.
View the May 2014 Outlook for Agricultural Trade.