The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) facilitated the export of more than $3.8 billion of American produced agricultural products in fiscal 2017 through its Export Verification (EV), grading and classing programs.
In a major victory for U.S. beef producers, AMS export certification programs were a key component in the reopening of the market for U.S. beef exports to China for the first time in 13 years. Since mid-June, U.S. beef exports to the world’s most populous nation have already totaled more than 3.4 million lb. valued at $17.2 million.
“American agricultural companies compete worldwide, and I am incredibly proud of the role that the Agricultural Marketing Service plays to support the jobs these businesses create across the country,” said Greg Ibach, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “Every day they provide the agriculture industry valuable services with the integrity and customer focus (Agriculture) Secretary (Sonny) Perdue expects of all USDA staff to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country.”
Other agricultural products inspected or certified by AMS for export last year included 145.3 million metric tons of U.S. grains and 1.6 billion shell eggs. AMS issued more than 44,000 export certificates for American dairy farmers, producers and exporters contributing to the $5.3 billion in milk and dairy exports from the U.S. in 2017. The Pre-Export Check program issued more than 13,000 certificates for 583 million lb. of U.S. almonds -- worth $1.7 billion -- destined for sale in the European Union.
Domestically, AMS staff graded or inspected 20.9 billion lb. of beef, 75.1 million lb. of lamb, 27.5 million lb. of veal/calf, 7.5 billion lb. of poultry, 44.4 billion shell eggs, 1 billion lb. of butter, 12.5 billion lb. of processed fruit and vegetable products and 52 billion lb. of fresh fruits and vegetables. The AMS Cotton Program is on course to classify samples from 20 million-plus bales by the end of the current season in June 2018.
AMS supported USDA’s National School Lunch Program with purchases of more than 1.6 billion lb. of food, including fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. Agency staff also inspected more than 223 million servings of military combat rations to help ensure the quality of meals prepared for American troops.
In 2017, the agency initiated nearly $1 million in new public/private cooperative research agreements and workshops aimed at improving transportation infrastructure for agricultural exporters. This work will enable transportation planners, providers and customers at the federal, state and local levels to improve shipping infrastructure for U.S. exports from rural America to international markets.