From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
Overseas buyers of agricultural products represent a significant market for North Carolina farmers. According to the latest statistics, North Carolina exported $2.1 billion worth of commodities in 2007. These sales have helped many North Carolina farm families stay on the farm.
Even in today’s economy, competition for global exports is strong. We are not the only state, or even country, that is focused on increasing exports, so we have to be proactive.
That is why I am leading a trade delegation to China Aug. 1-8 in hopes of expanding business opportunities in the country.
The state saw more than $271 million in exports to China alone in 2008, and there is good reason to believe there is even greater untapped potential in this market.
My goal in going is to lay the groundwork now to impact exports for the 2010 growing season, and I am encouraged by the potential.
China is our second-largest trading partner, and exports from North Carolina to China continue to grow. The country is a huge customer for tobacco, wood and cotton, and we also see strong growth potential for the sale of soybeans.
I will be joined by representatives of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina, the N.C. Soybean Producers Association, the N.C. Cotton Growers Association, N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Agribusiness Council, N.C. Growers Association, U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Burley Stabilization Corp. and PS International.
We have a full agenda planned, meeting with government leaders, farmers and agribusiness representatives. We will also tour some farms and agribusiness companies in the country. I look forward to talking with leading Chinese agriculture officials about future opportunities.
International trade will continue to be critical to the long-term success of North Carolina agriculture, and I believe we cannot afford to sit back and miss opportunities for business.
This is particularly true of our tobacco crop, which will need to rely even more on overseas markets for future success.
We will be posting updates and photos from the trade mission to the department’s In the Field blog, which you can find at www.ncagr.gov/blog.