USDA Secretary Vilsack Announces Plan to Boost Ag Trade

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack addresses the 80th National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Convention in Kansas City on Nov. 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of NAFB.


During a visit last Thursday to the 80th National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Convention in Kansas City, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the next steps in the department’s efforts to bolster U.S. agricultural trade, including the department’s planned trade missions for 2024 and the opening of a public comment period for the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP).

“As I’ve often said, the key to trade is people’s presence and promotions, and these resources will allow us to continue to expand our reach into markets that are nontraditional to complement the work that we’re doing in the more traditional ag markets,” he told reporters at the NAFB annual convention.

Vilsack said, “Market diversification is an important tool for maximizing growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture, as well as hedging the risk of market contraction and general volatility in the global marketplace.”

“In March, we’re looking forward to a trade mission to South Korea and April, the trade mission will be headed to India. In June, the trade mission will be in Canada. July, we’ll see us traveling to Colombia September. We’ll do an event in Vietnam,” Vilsack said. “The trade mission in Vietnam will also have some Thailand opportunities and influences and December we’ll finish with a trip to Morocco, which will also allow us to have some Northern African nations involved. So, you can see from the trade promotion and trade mission area that we’re looking for diversifying our market opportunities.”

In October, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA will use $1.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation funds to establish RAPP, to bolster and diversify U.S. agricultural export opportunities, and strengthen support for specialty crop industries. This investment will enable American exporters to enter new markets and expand market share in current and growth markets.