Passage and implementation of a trio of free-trade agreements (FTAs) currently pending would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of 29,524 new jobs, according to a white paper released by the American Meat Institute (AMI).

“It is clear that the road to both robust job and economic growth lies in expanding America’s export markets,” said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of AMI. Boyle noted that the trade expansion deals between the U.S. and South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been awaiting Congressional approval for years and the U.S. is losing market share as a result. “While the U.S. is waiting to enact these FTAs, our competitors are moving forward,” said Boyle

The data reveal that passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million. The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry. Trade numbers are based on projections from the respective commodity groups. Job creation data is based on employment multiplier projections from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and industry groups which estimate:

• For every $1 billion in beef exports, 12,700 jobs are created.

• For every $1 billion in pork exports, 13,333 jobs are created.

• For every $1 billion in poultry exports, 11,853 jobs are created.

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It's hard to argue with the creation of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs through these proposed FTA's, but I'm certain producers differ on their views of this subject. What are your thoughts? Share with us today!

Some added food for thought: In 2004, of the 145 million employed workers in the U.S., 834,000 of them held jobs as agricultural workers; 83% of these jobs were as farm workers. (Source: Wikipedia)