U.S. Meat Gets Competitor
Created by rrummel on 12/2/2013 2:28:08 PM

E.U. Goes after Global Markets

The U.S. Congress is trying to find ways to trim the budget - including in agriculture - but the European Commission has proposed more than tripling its spending in the international marketplace to support the export of EU agricultural and agri-food sector products. According to EU media reports - the proposed initiative aims to help the sector’s professionals break into international markets and make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers to provide quality products. The proposal would boost European aid for agricultural exports progressively from 82.5-million dollars in the 2013 budget to 270.5-million in 2020. With consumers increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods - European Commissioner for Agriculture - Dacian Ciolos says European farmers and small or medium-sized enterprises are in a position of strength. U.S. Meat Export Federation Chairman Mark Jagels says this proposal sends a clear message - one he hopes our Congress is listening to. With 96-percent of the world’s population living outside our borders - Jagels says we need to focus our energy and resources on putting U.S. meat and other agricultural products on the world’s tables. If we don’t - he says our competitors in the EU and around the world will gladly take that business off our hands.

Jagels notes the benefits of supporting U.S. agricultural exports are well-documented. U.S. ag exports - which topped 141-billion dollars in value in fiscal year 2012 - support nearly 1.2-million American jobs. They accounted for a 38.5-billion dollar surplus in the balance of trade for the year. According to a recent study conducted for USDA - the investment of USDA and checkoff funds in USMEF programs over the prior decade returned an average of $7.42 in net revenue to the U.S. pork industry and $3.87 to the beef industry per dollar invested. Jagels asks where better we can invest our tax dollars than in supporting agricultural exports that create jobs, bolster an essential industry and put tax revenue back into the government’s coffers. He says we need to take a cue from the EU and support agricultural exports rather than reducing spending on these essential programs.