In August 2017, Jason Hafemeister was acting deputy director for trade and foreign affairs with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). After meeting with international customers of U.S. soy from all over the world in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, Jason, who has since been named USDA Trade Policy Coordinator, talked about how vital trade is to the world economy.

The United States is going to continue to be a strong producer of soybeans. We have a great natural advantage in this country, good land, great farmers, strong infrastructure and we continue to see strong demand for protein worldwide. This means people need food grains, feed ingredients like soybeans and our farmers are going to respond to that. So, we foresee a strong crop this year and continuing high production in the U.S. and we are going to continue to look for markets overseas, to market that product. So as long as we can keep foreign markets open, which is a big priority for us, as long as we are able to open new markets by bringing down trade barriers that’s going to be able to give us opportunities to move our surplus production and satisfy foreign demand.

Trade is so critical to U.S. agriculture that our ability to prosper as farmers is fundamental to keeping our rural communities vibrant. And we in the government can help that, we can help negotiate down barriers to trade, we can help partner with our exporters to promote products overseas, we can help explain to buyers how the U.S can meet their needs.  And through that avenue of trade, we can really help the U.S. economy and also the world economy by promoting economic growth and providing opportunities for more people to eat more healthy, nutritious food.