Hoosier agriculture is a major player in the production and export of U.S. agricultural products, exporting $4.8 billion in agricultural products annually. Indiana's exports help boost farm prices and income, while supporting about 36,200 jobs both on the farm and in related industries such as food processing, transportation, and manufacturing.
That's why members of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Growers Association recently hosted an industry roundtable with Phil Karsting, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service administrator, to voice their support for the importance of the passage of the Trade Promotion Authority.
Trade Promotion Authority is a vital tool in negotiation and approval of trade agreements that support and create U.S. jobs while helping American agriculture to compete more successfully in an ever-expanding global marketplace, the groups maintain.
Right now, the U.S. is negotiating both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. TPA will help ensure that America's farmers, ranchers, and food processors receive the greatest benefit from these negotiations, the groups say.
"When 95% of consumers live outside our country's borders, the future of American-and Indiana- agriculture depends largely on our ability to sell to foreign markets," said Herb Ringel, ICGA president. "Agriculture exports play a huge role in the health of our nation's economy, supporting more than one million American jobs. This year alone, the U.S. is expected to export nearly $150 billion in agricultural goods."
In countries where the U.S. has free trade agreements in place, exports of U.S. food and agricultural products have grown. For example, soybean, soybean meal, and soy oil exports to Korea, Colombia, and Panama have increased from $593 million in 2011 to nearly $961 million in 2014, and corn exports to Central America and the Dominican Republic increased from $338 million in 2005 to $670 million in 2014 since the implementation of free trade agreements with these countries, according to the groups.
Following the roundtable, ISA and ICGA worked with Indiana Pork to arrange a tour Indiana Packers in Delphi, Ind. Andy Tauer, ISA/ICMC livestock director, Ben Wicker of Indiana Pork and Kevin Wilson ISA board member were able to accompany Karsting on a tour of the plant and meet with officials there to learn about the company and their export efforts.