Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. ag exports generated more than $270 billion for the U.S. economy since 2019, proving that the ag sector is resilient under any circumstances, according to trade experts.
“Today, more than 20 percent of what U.S. farmers produce is exported,” said Veronica Nigh, an American Farm Bureau Federation economist. “America continues to be in a strong position, especially as things normalize after COVID-19.”
The engine driving this positive outlook is the unflappable productivity of the American farmer. “There are 330 million people in the U.S., but American farmers raise enough to feed 2 billion people a year,” said Melissa George Kessler, director of strategic relations for the U.S. Grains Council.
All these exports help drive both the U.S. farm economy and the general economy. Roughly 1 million jobs are supported by U.S. agricultural exports, including 764,000 in the nonfarm sector, according to Ag Exports Count. These include jobs related to supplying seed and crop protection products, transporting ag commodities, and processing and distributing agricultural products for export.
The key to fostering a healthy export pipeline is growing the most marketable crops possible through elite seed genetics, trusted crop protection products and open international trade options. A case in point is the use of fungicides in corn to boost productivity, said Lynn Sandlin, business intelligence manager at Syngenta.
“Twenty years ago, hardly any farmers were using fungicides in corn,” Sandlin said. “Now, growers have Syngenta products like Trivapro and Miravis Neo brand fungicides for broad-spectrum disease control and plant-health benefits. We want to help farmers grow the very best crop possible, in terms of quality and yield potential.”
Maximizing crop quality helps pave the way for more export demand, as consistent supply and quality lay a solid foundation for relationships. “We’re on a mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives,” Kessler said. “We’ll continue to build long-term relationships abroad as we play the long-term game to benefit U.S. farmers.”