Ultimately, increasing American exports helps us to lay the groundwork for a stronger national economy. Agricultural exports not only support more than 1 million jobs right here at home, but since 2009, agricultural exports have also helped fuel growth in net farm income from just $85 billion in 2008 to $114 billion last year.
Today we have a historic opportunity to build on our success and enhance the tremendous benefits for rural America that come with increased agricultural trade. And as consumers around the world demand high-quality, American-grown products, USDA staff will be positioned around the world, monitoring more than 160 markets to ensure a level playing field for U.S. businesses and products.
Vilsack is U.S. secretary of agriculture.