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Agricultural exports reach record high; K-State agricultural economist explains pros and cons

Monday, June 9, 2014


MANHATTAN — The U.S. is expected to export a record amount of food this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We continue to export more both in pounds and dollar amount," said Glynn Tonsor, a Kansas State University associate professor of agricultural economics.

The USDA predicts the U.S. will export almost $150 billion worth of fruits, vegetables, grains and meat in 2014. Tonsor says the increase in exports is because of both economic growth and population growth in other countries.

"Economic growth outside the U.S. continues to be fairly strong," Tonsor said. "Couple that with population growth, it means there is more demand for the food products the U.S. produces and that they are essentially being bid out of the U.S. into other consumers' hands."

Tonsor says this is good news for domestic agricultural producers, who are now making more money on their products because of the increased demand. While it may hit the pocketbooks of U.S. consumers, who likely will have to pay more for these products, it does provide better trade deals.

"Typically when you export something, you import something in return, which could be rubber product, electronics, etc.," Tonsor said. "Trade enables us to focus on things that we're good at and allows all consumers to collectively be better off."

The volume of agricultural exports is expected to increase 31 percent from 2013 to 2014. Tonsor says this a trend that is likely to continue.


Glynn Tonsor

Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

A Kansas State University agricultural economist explains why agricultural exports are projected to be so high this year and what that means for U.S. consumers.