Trade Negotiations Sow Seeds of Doubt for U.S. Agriculture

Apr 13, 2017 | 09:30 GMT
Trade Negotiations Sow Seeds of Doubt for U.S. Agriculture
Without China and Mexico, the U.S. grain industry -- like many other agricultural sectors in the United States -- would have no clear alternative market that could match those countries' demand.
(SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images)

Grant Wood's 1930 painting "American Gothic" is quintessential Americana. The austere depiction of a farmer and his land evokes the agrarian core that has long underpinned the United States' geopolitical strength. Today, the U.S. agricultural system is still central to the country's success, though it looks much different now than it did in Wood's time. Small family farms have given way to massive industrial operations, and the agriculture sector as a whole has become far more globalized. In fact, despite its reputation as the "breadbasket of the world," the U.S. agricultural sector depends as much on other countries as they depend on it. The United States exports more than 20 percent of its agricultural production by volume, and export revenues account for about 20 percent of net farm income. As productivity improves each year with help from technological advancements, moreover, it will outpace domestic demand, leaving exports to sustain the...

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