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Trade Mission Highlights Growing Prospects for Ag Products in Turkey

With its rapidly developing economy and expanding middle class, Turkey has become an important market for U.S. food and agricultural products over the past decade. It’s also the destination of the latest USDA agricultural trade mission from June 10-14 as Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse leads a U.S. delegation to promote U.S. agricultural exports.

Representatives from six state departments of agriculture and 20 U.S. companies will attend. During the mission, the delegation will travel to Istanbul and Ankara to learn about market conditions and regulations to help U.S. companies develop export strategies for Turkey. They’ll visit retail locations and tour various facilities including a U.S. hardwood importer.

Secretary's Column: An Update on Exports

The past four years have been tremendously positive for America’s efforts to export more agricultural goods and products around the world.

The brand of American agriculture is soaring worldwide. In fact, 2009 to 2012 represents the best four years in our nation’s history for agricultural exports. Exports have grown more than 50% over that period of time.

We have reason to believe that more good news is ahead. Recently, USDA economists forecast agricultural product exports for next year to exceed $145 billion. That would set yet another new record – and it would allow agricultural exports to continue supporting more than a million jobs.

Secretary's Column: Supporting American Jobs by Increasing Exports

As drought continues across America, President Obama and I continue doing all we can to help producers. In addition to the actions the Administration has already taken, we will continue to work with Members of Congress toward passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill – because USDA needs tools to help, and producers need certainty in this difficult time.

While we know that the ongoing drought will impact yields, we also know that thanks to technology and the innovation of producers, many producers may still see a good year – we won’t know until harvest time. Meanwhile, USDA continues doing all we can to support a strong rural economy and a thriving agriculture sector.

A big part of this work is ensuring strong markets for quality American agricultural products. President Obama and I know that supporting strong markets for U.S. agricultural exports is crucial to continuing economic growth in rural America.

U.S. Fresh Fruit a Hit with Chinese Consumers

For the past two years, our Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai, China has built a partnership with, an online produce company that has thrived by harnessing the impressive power of internet and TV retailing to reach Chinese consumers.

Foreign Officials See Agricultural Diversity of the Pacific Northwest

This week, I am taking 21 representatives of foreign embassies in our nation’s capital to Washington state and Oregon for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s 26th annual orientation tour. These representatives are from Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Fiji, France, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, and Switzerland. Their expertise ranges from agricultural to environmental affairs and economic to commercial affairs.

With Aid of TASC Grant, South Carolina and Georgia Exports to Mexico are Looking Peachy

In a scene that’s a telltale sign of summer across the southern United States, farmers’ markets and grocery stores are now proudly declaring that they are stocked with ripe, delicious, American-grown peaches.

Thanks in part to a Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) grant from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to the Georgia and South Carolina Peach councils, fresh Georgia and South Carolina peaches are now also being enjoyed by our neighbors in Mexico for the first time in 17 years.

Secretary's Column: Putting Americans Back to Work

Last week, Congress reached an agreement to reduce the deficit and avoid a default that would have devastated our economy.  This compromise – which guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction – is an important first step to ensuring that we live within our means as a nation.

At the same time, the debt deal allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs.  We’re also not cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.