Agriculture the Focus at a Georgetown Round Table Discussion - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Agriculture the Focus at a Georgetown Round Table Discussion

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GEORGETOWN, Del.- If you live on Delmarva, then you probably have a pretty good idea of just how important the agriculture industry is to many people on the Peninsula. But growing the industry in a globally-centered world increasingly means taking the products out of the region, and even out of the country.

At the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown, more than a dozen agricultural experts crammed into a room to hear USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse speak about the changing markets.

"Right now we're working on two of the largest trade agreements that have ever been attempted by the United States," Scuse said.

The first agreement Scuse was referring to was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, often referred to as TPP. This agreement would open up Asian Markets to the United States. Scuse said he was optimistic a deal on this agreement could be made within the next couple months.

The second agreement, which Scuse admitted was less likely to reach fruition as soon, is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as T-TIP. This agreement would open up the European Union to the United States.

Scuse said these two deals would be crucial to the future growth of the American agricultural industry.

"Our farmers do a great job of producing products," he said. "But they need the markets. Without these foreign markets - then they don't have the prices they need to stay in business."

And the numbers support the idea that the agricultural industry is increasingly benefiting from global exports. Nationwide, U.S. food and agricultural exports reached a record $150.5 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, in Delaware, exports jumped from $235 million in 2009 to $303 million in 2013.

Broiler meat alone represented $137 million in global exports in 2013.

Bridgeville farmer Kevin Evans was at the round table. He said these agreements could have major impacts on Delmarva farmers.

"If my product can only be marketed here," he said. "I've got a small window of opportunity to sell... And if it's globally - my product can be sold anywhere int he world. So obviously I've got a better chance of moving the product that I'm growing."

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