Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain, quoting an Agri-Pulse story about Chuck Conner—former deputy USDA secretary under President George W. Bush—says the grass roots population of the US needs to push hard so the programs in the new farm bill will remain strong.
Strain quotes the article as saying the key votes that elected Donald Trump last month were in rural areas, which depend for the most part on the farm bill programs.
On another matter, Strain reports Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the US farm economy remains healthy, despite the recent income plunge. Total farm income for 2016 is projected at $90.1 billion, down $4 billion from 2015. However, looking back over the past five years “we still have a strong farm economy.” But as good as it is, “it must improve,” says Vilsack.
Strain goes on to report USDA has now raised its export forecast for $134 billion for 2017, slightly higher than USDA’s previous forecast. The US is also looking at an ag trade surplus of $21.5 billion.
Exports to China and Mexico have each been increased by $300 million. And says Strain, “China will remain the largest foreign market for US farm goods followed by Canada and Mexico.”
95% of the world’s population is outside the US, but the US provides 20% of the worlds food supply, and, says Strain “Exports are the key to American agriculture.”