The President’s fiscal year 2011 budget proposal for USDA makes an additional financial request to enhance USDA export promotion activities.

And USDA has made strong progress to help increase exports. Under a new trade strategy, we are looking at countries based on their position on an agricultural market continuum. 

As we pursue this new approach, we have maintained our commitment to an open rules-based international trading system that will benefit both consumers and suppliers of agricultural products around the world. We have continued to work through negotiations to remove barriers that prevent U.S. agricultural producers from getting open and fair access to foreign markets. And because we have full confidence in their quality and competitiveness, we will continue to push U.S. products to foreign markets. 

“And we can’t forget the importance of the underlying values of rural America and its farmers and ranchers to the resilience of the agriculture sector:

“American agriculture entered the recession with very little debt relative to the rest of the economy — and farm sector debt is expected to decrease in 2010;

A strong belief in the value of hard work positioned our famers capitalize on the economic recovery; and

American agriculture has improved on its incredible productivity and adaptability – embracing new research and innovation like few other sectors of the American economy. 

“As the rest of the American economy climbs out of the recession, American agriculture is helping lead the charge. As they have time and time again, American farmers and ranchers are stayed resilient and working to support a foundation of economic prosperity for the rest of the nation.”

The 2010 Farm Income Forecast report is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Features/FarmIncome/.