U.S. grain exports offer billions in benefits

USGC and NGCA commission study revealing grain sales support $19 billion in GDP.

May 9, 2019

2 Min Read
USGC grain exports infographic.jpg

A new study shows that access to international export markets for U.S. grains during 2016 supported nearly $38 billion in business sales in the U.S. economy beyond the value of the products themselves.

The analysis -- commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA) -- found a total economic impact of $55 billion from U.S. grains exports that year, supporting 271,000 jobs directly or indirectly. These sales supported $19 billion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) over what would have occurred without such exports.

The analysis took a deep dive into the benefits overseas sales created for farmers, rural communities and the nation as a whole, driven by strong trade policy and robust in-country market development for grains and grains products.

“Every sale counts for farmers, especially in this market, and this analysis shows just how much the grain sector is supported by regular and growing purchases from our overseas customers,” USGC chairman Jim Stitzlein said. “These numbers out today take the analysis one step further to look at the whole economy in our rural and farm communities but also in cities where people have jobs transporting, processing and shipping ag products.”

Informa Agribusiness Consulting conducted the study, which examined the economic contributions to each state and 52 congressional districts from exports of corn, barley, sorghum, ethanol, dried distillers grains with solubles, corn gluten feed and meal as well as the corn equivalent of meat. The new study is an update to similar research done with 2014 and 2015 data that showed similar results.

Related:Mexico, Canada remain top grain markets

Breaking down the numbers, these results showed that every $1 of grain exports supported an additional $2.20 in business sales. Every job directly created by the export of grain and grain products supported an additional 3.9 jobs in the U.S.

These indirect and induced business activities extend well beyond the agriculture industry, including the wholesale trade, real estate, oil and natural gas and service sectors.

“While corn growers can see firsthand the value our product provides to our local communities, this study demonstrates the positive economic impact we provide beyond our fields. Breaking the data down into individual states and congressional districts will help us better inform legislators as we advocate for new market opportunities for U.S. corn,” NCGA president Lynn Chrisp said.

Read the full report.

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