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NCGA and USGC study highlights economic impact of grain exports

Grain exports are critical to the U.S. economy and provided a nearly $65 billion economic output in 2018, according to a recent study commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Grains Council.

Lesly Weber McNitt is director of public policy for trade and biotechnology with NCGA.  

“The study reflects the importance of trade and its economic ripple effect even beyond the farm gate,” she says. “In addition to the $22.7 billion in value of grain and co-products exported in 2018, the exports generated more than $41 billion in sales and an additional $27 billion the GDP, and they supported approximately 295,000 jobs in the U.S. economy.”

The study highlights the importance of exports of corn, sorghum, barley, and grain components of ethanol, DDGs, and certain meat products.

McNitt says it also underscores the need for the industry to advocate for open markets and access to new markets.  

“NCGA is always working to create opportunities for corn farmers that increase demand for their products,” she says. “And when I think about trade policy, I really think about it with the goal of diversifying farmer’s portfolio.”

She says it also looks at the economic contributions provided by each state.

“If we want to take a state example, the value of grain exports in Minnesota was $1.7 billion and supported more than 12,000 Minnesota jobs,” she says.

“In Indiana, grain and grain-product exports were valued at $1.3 billion in 2018 and translate to more than 12,000 jobs in the state economy,” she says.

The study, the fourth in a series conducted by Informa Economics/IHS Markit, draws from data sets from the USDA and the U.S. Census Bureau. McNitt says it reflects 2018 data because it’s the latest data available.

Audio: Lesly Weber McNitt

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