For the last few decades a trend developed on the family farm nationwide. And that trend was the family no longer wanted to farm. Once kids left for college, or for whatever reason, many didn’t want to be farmers like their folks. Thankfully in the last few years that trend has reversed and many farmers’ daughters and sons are moving back home to continue the tradition. Agriculture is vital for our state and country.
President Trump has worked hard to revive our economy and promote American jobs and growth. Over the past two years, the Trump administration has worked hard in getting our agriculture industry to a state of certainty and back on the road to prosperity. By breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities in foreign markets for American agriculture, there has been success in reopening international markets for exports like beef, pork and poultry.
With more than 2 million farms covering 915 million acres, the U.S. has been the world’s leading agricultural producer for many years. Agricultural products are a source of significant exports in the U.S., they account for roughly 10 percent of our total exports. Since 1960, American agriculture exports have exceeded agriculture imports and in 2017 the U.S. exported more than $140 billion in agricultural products.
Argentina recently ended its ban on American pork, resulting from a meeting between President Trump and Argentine President Macri. Japan has ended its ban on American lamb and Idaho potatoes. Morocco has now opened its market to American poultry. And for the first time since 2003, American beef producers have access to the Chinese market. In May of last year, President Trump negotiated a deal with the European Union to decrease unnecessary inspection requirements for citrus exports while at the same time exporting beef to Brazil for the first time in 13 years. The U.S. has also expanded its poultry exports to Guatemala, increased rice access in Nicaragua and Colombia and increased beef exports to Thailand.
American food producers have not been treated fairly on the international stage for years and that is starting to change. Farmers, ranchers and individuals in the agricultural community are always telling me to thank the president for his efforts fighting on their behalf. Most tell me they are willing to withstand some short-term pain for long-term gain. They feel other countries have been gaming the system for too long.
I am confident President Trump will continue his work to help the 3.2 million farmers in the U.S. With 200,000 new mouths to feed every day, there’s plenty of global demand for our agriculture and it is important that we continue to work on expanding these international opportunities. I look forward to working with the president to ensure the vitality of American agricultural.