How Has Agricultural Products Being Providing Economic Support?

Agricultural products are the raw materials used in the agricultural production of food. Agriculture is the science and art of growing various types of plants and animals as a living output for consumption. Agriculture was the original driving force behind the development of sedentary, urbanized human society, through which large-scale farming of domestic animals made possible the survival of man in his very complex and competitive environment. The history of cultivation started thousands of years ago during the earliest periods of history. Artisans produced items such as shovels, axes, wagons, and plugs by hand using the collected detritus of their farms and homes as the raw material. Later, farming became a job, requiring more sophisticated equipment and more permanent residences.


Agriculture has remained a vital part of the economy even in modern times. Modern agriculture is characterized by intensive farming with the use of modern technology. Agriculture has contributed to the economic progress around the world. Agriculture is a process of converting natural resources into useful products. Some of the products of agriculture include livestock feeds, dairy products, bakery products, pharmaceutical drugs, automotive products, wood products, soft drinks, gasoline, non-food products, alcoholic beverages, cash crops, non-food crops, nursery products, forest products, petroleum products, and gas.


Livestock feeds are vital to keeping the cattle and poultry of the United States fed and well cared for. Cattle, like other farm products, have been subject to sharp increases in meat production over the past few decades. Beef and pork, two of the largest producers of beef in the United States, have been almost flattened in recent years, following an increase in production of corn and grain. Despite the recent increase in beef production, most of the United States' beef production occurs in four states (aloah, Iowa, Kansas and Texas) and two regions (eastern and western Texas and eastern Kentucky). The beef production of the United States is highly dependent on the sales value of the cattle and pork bellies produced in these four states.


The United States Department of Agriculture projects that the United States will experience a slight increase in beef exports to beef-producing countries in Latin America starting in the mid-2019. This potential growth is contingent upon the removal of the current Tariff Rate Schedule (TSR) on agricultural products. The United States, in consultation with the United Kingdom, plans to remove the tariffs on beef and pork at an effective date of December 1, 2018. The United States is forecasting to eliminate the Tariff Rate Schedule across all products including: sugar, cocoa, citrus fruit, poultry feed, horticultural products, vegetables, fruits, and other protein-rich products.


Exports of agricultural products are a major source of revenue for the United States. The United States is one of the largest users of food and beverages, with over one hundred and forty billion dollars in annual food exports and approximately eleven trillion dollars in total food and beverage exports. By using agricultural products, the United States is able to promote the economic interests of our nation, strengthen our national security, reduce our dependence on foreign partners, and ensure the safety of American consumers.


The tariff on beef is set to be removed on December 1, 2018. The removal of the Tariff may result in an increase in demand for beef among U.S. consumers. This increase in consumer demand could lead to increased competition in beef markets and could impact prices paid by American consumers for beef imports. On a more practical note, the removal of the Tariff may encourage the beef importation, and consumption, of certain items such as sugar and cocoa. In fact, the United States is one of the largest importers of sugar and cocoa in the world.


Livestock and dairy are two of the fastest growing sectors of the agriculture industry. According to the USDA, U.S. dairy production reached an all-time high in fiscal year (FY) 2018. As a result of this record growth, the demand for dairy has substantially increased. For example, in fiscal year (FY) 2018, over three million cows were sold in the United States. The number of sheep sales, which represent less than half of one percent of the total number of dairy cows, have also seen an increase.


Feeding our horses has been another significant factor in the growth of the U.S. agricultural sector in recent years. The single largest feed export purchased by the United States, feed grains, represented nearly four percent of the agricultural gross domestic product in fiscal year (FY 2018). With feed costs escalating, many farmers are having difficulty maintaining their inventories. Exports of these agricultural products have supported the efforts of both farmers to raise their harvests, and consumers to buy U.S. produced foods. Exports of dairy, feed grains, poultry meats, fruits, vegetables, and other farm products have more than covered the projected increase in feed costs.

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