Forecasts for agricultural exports project nearly a $15 billion dollar increase from 2006's record $68.6 billion to the $83.5 billion expected for 2008. Ken Hobbie, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council says that shows the increasing demand for U.S. feed grains, which are expected to set a record in 2008 with $24.3 billion in exports.
"By way of sharing information and educating our trade partners, the Council has helped producers establish a reputation for providing high-quality feed grains," said Hobbie. "Thanks to farmers responding to intensifying demand, we are known as a reliable and trustworthy partner."
Kirk Miller, general sales manager of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, says there are several factors that contributed to the recent export forecasts, among them the fact that U.S. grains continue to meet and surpass consumer expectations.
"We cannot ignore the significant contributions being made by the U.S. Grains Council, which is a leading cooperator with FAS, on behalf of U.S. farmers," said Miller. "They are literally working around the clock to develop new markets and expand those already in existence."
According to Kevin Natz, USGC director of trade policy, free trade agreements will significantly increase markets for U.S. farmers.
"U.S. feed grains and producers win in a free trade environment. Liberalized trade will add value to U.S. grains."