WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement:
"Today's report on gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2016 brings welcome news for our overall economy, and brings further affirmation that America's agriculture sector remains a shining star in our nation's ability to seize export opportunities. Economic growth has increased 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a direct result of the gains made in export sales. Exports reached 10 percent growth in the quarter, the highest since 2013, with agricultural exports contributing disproportionately to the gains. Although a strong U.S. dollar and lower commodity prices have created headwinds for America's farmers and ranchers, this report demonstrates their ability to remain resilient and to seize opportunities to sell U.S. food, fiber and fuel to markets around the world.
"In this Administration alone, agricultural exports have topped $1 trillion since 2009, far and away the best stretch in our nation's history. Our farmers and ranchers have also helped to maintain a consistent agricultural trade surplus year after year since the 1960s-a remarkable feat in our global marketplace. Since 2009, USDA has worked to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade; open or expand key markets for products such as beef, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and more; and led 17 trade and investment missions and attended 23 trade shows, generating billions-of-dollars in sales for U.S. businesses.
"In order to continue this momentum, we can and should do more to expand global markets. U.S. farmers are facing unprecedented competition amid a slowing global economy and appreciating dollar. That's why it is important for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs on and off the farm. The American Farm Bureau Federation has found that ratifying the TPP agreement will boost annual net farm income in the United States by $4.4 billion-an increase which would directly boost out economic prosperity. As the agriculture sector expands, U.S. real income will increase by $57.3 billion and sixty-six percent of GDP growth from TPP would go to American workers through increased wages and job opportunities.
"Today's announcement shows the capability of America's agricultural sector to increase overall growth and prosperity across the country. American agriculture needs the good deal laid out in the TPP agreement to bolster its position in the world economy."
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