Why Trade Matters to Kentucky's Ag Economy
With the productivity of U.S. agriculture growing faster than domestic demand, U.S. farmers and agricultural firms rely heavily on export markets to sustain prices and revenues. And while most of the corn produced in Kentucky stays in the state to be processed for feed, bourbon, food, or ethanol, exports are still a critical factor in the economic success of Kentucky's corn farmers.
"At the end of the day, a bushel of corn that leaves the U.S. for a foreign marketplace is a bushel of corn that adds value to the corn we grow and process right here in Kentucky," said Philip McCoun, Shelbyville farmer and chairman of the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council. "About 1 in 3 bushels of U.S. corn is exported in some form. Without exports, that corn would stay here in the U.S., creating a huge surplus and depressing prices all across the country, including here in Kentucky."