Ratify to Help Rectify
BY DENNY BANISTER
It is not the kind of material most of us look forward to reading when we sit in our favorite chair to spend some quiet time with a newspaper, magazine or a book. Honestly, unless you were reading in bed to help yourself get sleepy, would you have any interest in reading the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Outlook for U.S. Agriculture Trade? Me neither!
However, the report contains some very good news, and not just for farmers but for all Americans. In its report, the USDA projected fiscal year 2010 agricultural exports will total $107.5 billion, an increase of over three billion dollars since their previous estimate. Additionally, USDA projects fiscal year 2011 agricultural exports are expected to rise to $113 billion, an increase of over five billion dollars from this year’s projection.
Great for farmers perhaps, but what’s in it for us? Simple! Agriculture exports positively impact the U.S. balance of trade, which desperately needs a boost. The United States spends way more money to import goods than we receive from exporting goods, and a negative balance of trade is also a negative for the entire U.S. economy.
It stands to reason if U.S. agriculture exports affect our economy in a positive way, we would jump at the chance to increase those exports further, but such is not the case. The United States, through lengthy negotiations with South Korea, Panama and Columbia, reached agreements very beneficial to increasing U.S. agricultural exports to these countries, but the trade agreements are at a complete standstill awaiting ratification in Congress.
Considering the current condition of the U.S. economy, there is no excuse for not proceeding immediately to allow for the ratification of these three agreements in Congress. We must ratify these agreements to help rectify our ailing U.S. balance of trade.
Denny Banister, of Jefferson City, Mo., is a retired broadcaster from Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.
An editorial column from the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, Cut to the Chase may be used as an op-ed piece or letter to the editor.