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Entries in U.S. Agriculture Exports (2)

Friday
May122017

Secretary Perdue announces creation of Undersecretary for Trade

American Journal of Transportation

May 12, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny PerdueCincinnati, OH - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field. Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.

Perdue issued a report to announce the changes, which address Congressional direction in the 2014 Farm Bill to create the new undersecretary for trade and also are a down payment on President Trump’s request of his cabinet to deliver plans to improve the accountability and customer service provided by departments.

Read on...

Tuesday
Oct112016

Keeping up with the international competitors: How U.S. infrastructure stacks up

Agri-Pulse

October 10, 2016

This article is the fifth in a seven-part series, “Keeping Rural America Competitive,” that Agri-Pulse is publishing to give readers some perspective on the history and status of America's infrastructure and improvements needed to help farmers and ranchers remain competitive, prosperous and enjoying a strong quality of life.

What is needed to ensure U.S. infrastructure remains robust and helps keep the country competitive in world markets?

The transportation systems in the United States, the world's largest economy, includes such titans that it's easy to be complacent. Consider, for example, that U.S. railroads move 1.9 billion tons of cargo a year, or about a fourth of the world's rail freight.

But while the trucking industry forecasts an encouraging 29 percent increase in truck freight tonnage by 2026, Texas A&M's Urban Mobility Scorecard declares that U.S. car and truck traffic, abetted by cheap fuel, is rebounding past pre-recession levels, and congestion cost drivers 7 billion extra hours in 2015, or about $160 billion in fuel alone. And that's not just a big city problem: For cities of less than 500,000 people, congestion is four times worse than it was in 1982.

Note, too, that the U.S. is far back in the pack of countries developing high-speed passenger trains, with nothing to compare with those running smoothly and safely at 150 to 200 miles per hour in China, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. South Korea recently started service on the first links of its $60 billion campaign to connect its major cities and Seoul's nearby cities in a high-speed passenger train network by 2025, cutting the travel time on the major cross-country routes to as little as a fourth of current commutes.

Other parts of American infrastructure face big hurdles as well to remain competitive. In the West, water supplies and their pumping, transporting, and storage facilities will need a lot of innovation and investment in the years ahead to retain a competitive farming sector while satisfying urban water needs, says Michael Tiboris, water issues analyst for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The length of the extended drought in the Golden State can't be known, but the Southwest appears destined for drier, more volatile weather long term, with less rainfall and less snow in the Sierra Nevada, he says.

 “Almost all the irrigation water in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah goes to field crops and forage to provide feed for animals . . . and over 50 percent of crops in California are for feed and forage” for beef and dairy cattle and other animals. So both the region's big cities and its animal agriculture operations will face increased challenges for water infrastructure, Tiboris says. Fewer grazing acres and animals are most likely even as farmers shift more of their needs to shrinking supplies of groundwater. Read on…