Population growth and general economic performance drives global demand for food and agricultural products, which lays the foundation for trade and U.S. exports (ERS a). Through the effects on employment, purchasing power and income, agricultural exports play a significant role in both the farm and nonfarm economy (Edmonson). In 2006, each export farm dollar earned generated an additional $1.65 in business activity in 2006 (Edmondson). As a result, the $71.0 billion earned in agricultural exports stimulated an additional $117.2 billion in general economic activity in 2006 (Edmondson). Over the past five years, values of agricultural exports from the U.S. have been on the rise hitting record levels (Brooks). Increased demand in Canada and Mexico are primarily responsible for the renewed growth within agricultural exports (Brooks). Figure 1-1 shows all major agricultural products being exported from the U.S. over the past five years. The largest area of agricultural exports from the U.S. has consistently been cereal products. These types of products include major cereals such as barley, millet, and oat, as well as pseudo cereals that include buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa (Seibel). These products currently compose 23% of total U.S. agricultural exports and have traditionally been the largest export product(ERS a).


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