WASHINGTON – Since 2009, US agricultural exports have increased more than 50 percent in value, from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most-recent forecast of $145 billion in 2013, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s second Outlook for US Agricultural Trade in fiscal year 2013 released on Nov. 29. These exports support more than 1 million American jobs.

"Because USDA is working harder than ever to remove unfair barriers to trade and provide businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets, American agriculture is booming,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Earlier in the week, USDA forecast net farm income at its second-highest level since the 1970s. Taken together, this data shows a robust agricultural economy poised to recover from the worst drought in more than a generation.”

More than 1,000 US companies and organizations — mainly small and medium-sized businesses —participated in 110 USDA-endorsed trade shows since 2009 in 24 countries, racking up 12-month projected sales estimated at more than $4.2 billion, Vilsack said.

“We've led nearly 150 US businesses on trade missions to China, Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Panama, Peru, the Philippines Vietnam and Russia,” he added. “And we're keeping good-paying jobs here at home by resolving issues and removing barriers to trade that have freed up billions of dollars in American-grown products.

"As our farmers and ranchers look forward to a new growing season, agriculture will continue to be a major contributor to the president's goal of doubling exports under the National Export Initiative by the end of 2014,” he continued.

Vilsack concluded by saying it is important that Congress help ensure this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers and businesses, and their millions of customers around the world.