FAS administrator talks world ag export situation
U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Phil Karsting recently visited the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.
He met with Texas A&M AgriLife administrators, personnel from the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and a group of students.
Phil Karsting, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator. Karsting came to College Station after his trip to Austin, Texas, to speak at the Texas Global Business Summit, where he was on a panel discussing the possible benefits of a new Trans-Pacific Partnership. The partnership is a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the U.S and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Karsting, whose responsibility includes oversight of personnel in the U.S. and more than 90 overseas offices covering 169 countries, stressed the importance of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership relative to U.S. agricultural exports.
“As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, we’ve just had the five strongest years of agricultural exports in our history,” Karsting said.
He said Texas is one of the nation’s top agricultural exporters, ranking fourth behind California, Iowa and Illinois, and that the state’s agricultural producers would benefit from agreements like a new initiative.
“In 2012, Texas exported $4.3 billion in agricultural products, including $2.4 billion in cotton and cottonseed, $961 million in beef, $472 million in hides and skins, and $265 million in planting seeds,” he said. “In addition, Texas vies with Georgia as the top pecan-producing state. And the $65.9 million in Texas tree nut exports in 2012 increased even more last year.”
Karsting also touted Texas’ production and exportation of poultry and eggs, wool, peanuts and wheat.
“A primary mission of FAS is to enhance exports and, by extension, enhance the U.S. economy by helping U.S. farmers and ranchers export their products,” he said. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will provide such an opportunity to U.S. agricultural producers, including Texas producers.”
He added that every $1 billion worth of agricultural exports supports nearly 7,000 jobs in the U.S. and generates an additional $1.29 billion in domestic economic activity.
“So with U.S. agricultural exports forecast at a record $142.6 billion in fiscal year 2014, that generates nearly $184 billion in economic activity for our country,” he said.
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