U.S. farmers feed the world

Graphic showing top 5 U.S. agricultural exports (State Dept./J. Maruszewski)
(State Dept./J. Maruszewski)

American farmers are selling more of their high-quality products to the rest of the world than ever before in the history of U.S. agriculture.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to farmers in Iowa on March 4 , said that U.S. farmers produce harvests “at levels the world would have been astounded by just a few years ago.”

The United States, the world’s top food exporter, shipped over $139.5 billion in agricultural products abroad in 2018, a $1.5 billion increase over 2017.

That’s good news for both American farmers and the nations who import high-quality, safe and reliable U.S. agricultural products and so can provide enough food for their entire populations.

What America grows

Anyone driving across the American Midwest — Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and more — quickly learns that corn and soybeans are the most common crops grown in the United States and generate the highest agricultural export sales.

Drive across the states of Kansas, North Dakota, Montana and Washington and wheat fields dominate the landscape.

And visitors to Texas, Nebraska and Kansas see massive herds of cattle roaming these top three beef-producing states.

“The U.S. agriculture sector is extremely diverse,” said Bryce Cooke, an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The affordability and variety of the U.S. food supply reflects the productivity and diversity of the entire agricultural sector.”

Agricultural exports support more than 1 million American jobs in farming and ranching, as well as jobs in processing, packaging and transporting the crops.

Future of American farming

By 2050 the world demand for food is expected to increase by 60 percent. To meet this challenge, the U.S. will devise new agricultural practices, build new markets and remove unfair trade barriers.

World map showing top recipients of U.S. agricultural exports (State Dept./J. Maruszewski)
(State Dept./J. Maruszewski)

“We also have the highest quality because of our free-market system,” Pompeo told the American farmers. “Companies value their brand in a market-based economy and work to protect that reputation. Competition and choice cause people to play by the rules.”

“I am confident that the next billion, and the billion after that, of people who will be fed around the world will also be fed by American innovation, creativity and hard work,” Pompeo said.