Three out of every 10 bushels of grain and soybean exports from the U.S. go through the Panama Canal. Photo by Joe Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association.

The impact of ag exports on U.S. jobs

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

We are aware that agriculture is a competitive business that operated in a global environment. We understand the importance of global trade to market U.S. produced agricultural commodities. Have you ever considered how important exports of agricultural good produced in the U.S. are to maintaining jobs?

A recent USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) recently analyzed the importance of agricultural exports as it relates to jobs in 2020. The full report is available here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=103827&cpid=email.

In 2020, U.S. agricultural exports were valued at more than $150 billion and every $1 billion of exports is estimated to create 7,550 jobs. Crop and livestock production account for the majority, supporting a total of 439,500 jobs. Jobs in this segment included labor provided by farm owners and family members, hired employees, and contract labor.

U.S. agricultural exports also supported 423,900 off-farm jobs in service, trade, and transportation of agricultural goods. Exports supported 162,100 food-processing jobs and 107,000 jobs in packaging, canning, and bottling.

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