Despite the economic challenges since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic this year, one area of the U.S. economy is still going strong: agriculture. Amid so much uncertainty, food security is essential to the population of the United States and the world.
Currently, American farms not only grow enough food for America’s 330 million residents, but they also export more than 20% of what they produce to international markets, according to American Farm Bureau Federation economist Veronica Nigh.
The pandemic had some impact on exports, although the effect appears to be temporary. “International buyers’ ability to purchase U.S. ag products isn’t what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak, but it appears this situation is just a temporary shock,” says Nigh. “America is in a strong position when things normalize after COVID-19.”
The importance of agricultural exports to the U.S. economy
All of the agriculture exports America produces help to drive the farm economy of the United States and the country’s economy as a whole. Top exports include soybeans, corn, wheat and cotton.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the dollar value of agricultural exports in 2018 was nearly $140 billion, combined with nearly $163 billion in additional economic expenditure stimulated by agricultural exports — adding to a combined total of almost $303 billion.
AgExportsCount.com reports that approximately one million jobs are supported by U.S. agricultural exports, including 764,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. Those non-farm jobs are connected to areas such as supplying seed and crop protection products, transporting commodities, plus processing and distributing agricultural products for export.
Population growth and agriculture demand
Demand for U.S. agricultural products can grow with more trade partnerships. According to the United Nations, the current world population is 7.8 billion, and more than 95% of those people live outside of the United States.
“The global population is projected to soar to nearly 10 billion people by 2050,” says Sara Wyant, veteran farm policy reporter and president of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. “We need to keep looking at areas around the globe where demand growth is likely for U.S. ag products.”
Growing populations in many parts of the world, like India and African countries, will likely need more U.S. agricultural exports.
“The key is to avoid focus on just a few trading partners,” said David Widmar, agricultural economist with Agricultural Economic Insights. “We need to maintain and grow trade with a host of countries.”
How U.S. farmers can thrive
To succeed and expand agricultural exports moving into the future, American farms need to continue to produce the most marketable crops possible, using elite seed genetics and proven crop protection products.
“Twenty years ago, hardly any farmers were using fungicides in corn,” said Lynn Sandlin, business intelligence manager at Syngenta. “Now, growers have Syngenta products like Trivapro and Miravis brand fungicides for broad-spectrum disease control and plant-health benefits. These help farmers grow the very best crop possible, in terms of quality and yield potential.”
Optimizing a crop’s potential in these ways is crucial — not only to continuing to feed all of America’s families, but to encourage and keep up with increasing global demand for U.S. agriculture exports.
To learn more about the role of the agriculture industry in the economy, visit www.SyngentaThrive.com.
Despite all of the unprecedented economic challenges since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic this year, there’s one area of the U.S. economy that is still going strong: agriculture. Even in the midst of so much uncertainty, the population of the United States and the world still needs nutritious food.