21 February 2023 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service had an exceptional year in 2022, expanding U.S. agricultural trade, ramping up climate change resiliency work, and improving food and nutrition security around the globe.
As President Biden prepares for the 2023 State of the Union address, he will reflect on last year’s progress and forge ahead in promoting economic growth through international trade, championing solutions for the climate crisis and combating nutrition insecurity through FAS programs abroad.
“Undoubtedly, 2022 was a landmark year for the Foreign Agricultural Service. The day-to-day work of our staff brought an incredible series of successes for U.S. farmers and ranchers, food processors, exporters, and everyone involved in agricultural trade abroad,” said FAS Administrator Daniel B. Whitley. “The U.S. agriculture sector not only set new export records but also reaped the benefits of USDA and FAS efforts to expand climate change mitigation work, strengthen global food security activities, and establish new diversity programs.”
More, Better, and New Market Opportunities
FAS actions to reduce and eliminate trade barriers and grow exports of U.S. food and agricultural products yielded tremendous results in 2022. In fiscal year 2022, the United States exported a record $196 billion of U.S. agricultural products. China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the EU were the top five markets for U.S. food and agriculture exports. All five markets saw record export values in fiscal year 2022. The top agricultural export commodities – including soybeans, corn, and beef– also increased export values, setting records.
Throughout 2022, FAS staff worked diligently to expand opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture exporters. Working in conjunction with other USDA agencies and the United State Trade Representative, FAS ensured that trade barriers were reduced and new markets opened, benefitting all U.S. growers and exporters. From expanding potato exports to Mexico, opening the processed meat products market in Israel, addressing halal concerns to expand exports to Indonesia and Egypt, and growing ethanol exports to Japan, U.S. agricultural producers and exporters gained access to potential markets worth nearly $6.4 billion in 2022.
FAS hosted five in-person agribusiness trade missions in 2022 after the global COVID-19 pandemic shuttered USDA-sponsored trade missions in 2020 and 2021. FAS connected U.S. exporters with buyers in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Kenya and Tanzania, and Spain and Portugal. More than 1,300 business-to-business meetings were held during the trade missions, resulting in more than $42 million in 12-month projected sales.
In addition, FAS organized U.S. food pavilions and exhibits at 20 international trade shows in 14 countries. The events provided an opportunity for nearly 637 U.S. agribusiness and organizations to showcase their products to buyers from around the world, resulting in an astounding $2.48 billion in projected 12-months sales. FAS hosted a USA Pavilion at the FIFA World Cup in November, boosting awareness of U.S. agricultural products in this key market during one of the world’s most attended sporting events.
Foster Climate Solutions
Throughout 2022, FAS strengthened the exchange of science-based practices by countries around the world by continuing to leverage global partnerships like the Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation and the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate. Through these partnerships, USDA continuously increased international engagement, strengthened our call for greater climate ambition, and provided inspiration for countries to adopt similar actions and commitments. FAS expanded capacity building in numerous countries through various bilateral and multilateral activities, such as our partnership with Mexico to improve emissions measurement and mitigation, helping the Kenya potato sector develop solar-powered cold storage, and many other projects that further mitigate global climate change impacts.
FAS increased its efforts to help the international community mitigate climate change in 2022 when it launched an International Climate Hub. The International Climate Hub will further support global science-based, climate-informed decision-making. The Hub will also create and capitalize on strategic opportunities to collaborate and share U.S. experiences on climate smart farming and ranching practices and research. USDA’s world-class research output supports FAS’ efforts to advance U.S. interests, ensuring U.S. products continue to find markets in countries that impose climate regulations.
Strengthen Food Security
Food security was a key focus for FAS in 2022 as the agency leaped into action to support global efforts to battle the impacts on food security caused by the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine dramatically changed the global food security narrative, requiring the United States to alter its approach to combating the issue. FAS is the major conduit for USDA’s coordination with other U.S. government agencies to assist Ukraine in strengthening its agricultural resiliency and economy. USDA took unprecedented steps to help alleviate the invasion’s impact on global food security by drawing down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to provide food assistance to countries in need due to the war. USDA also provided $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation to cover ocean freight transportation, inland transport, internal transport, shipping and handling, and other associated costs for exporting commodities to the impacted region.
FAS’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022. The program provides for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities, as well as financial and technical assistance, to support school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects. Throughout its 20-year history, the program has benefitted more than 31 million children and families in 48 countries, providing more than 5.5 billion school meals. In 2022, FAS invested $220 million in eight new projects in Burundi, Cambodia, The Gambia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Tanzania, and Timor-Leste.
In addition to these successes, FAS launched new partnerships with Howard University and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), enhancing its talent pool and providing additional opportunities for members of underrepresented communities to participate in expanding U.S. agricultural exports and strengthening global food security.
In partnership with Howard University, the agency launched the FAS Diversity Fellowship Program, which provides funding and support for selected students to receive master’s degrees in Agribusiness or Agricultural Economics from the accredited U.S. university of their choice, followed by employment at FAS.
In partnership with HACU, FAS is sponsoring the Agricultural Export Market Challenge to provide students from minority-serving institutions the opportunity to experience firsthand the fascinating work of global food and agricultural trade and learn about exciting and meaningful careers at USDA.
These partnerships align with the Biden-Harris Administration's Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and is another example of the department and agency’s commitment to advancing equity goals.