BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says U.S. trade figures released Wednesday show the contribution of U.S. farmers and ranchers to the nation's economic strength goes beyond providing safe and affordable food for American consumers.

“Our farm exports so far this year have passed the $75 billion mark and are projected to reach $135 billion, both all-time records,” Goehring said. “Agriculture is leading the way for the recovery of our economy, while at the same time, it is feeding an ever larger share of the world's people.”

Goehring noted that the volume of U.S. wheat exports is up 64 percent over last year.

“We grew 16 percent of the nation's wheat last year, more than any other state, and about half of our wheat is exported,” Goehring said. “North Dakota is certainly playing its part in this successful trade story, ranking eighth among the states in agricultural exports.”

Goehring said the Administration and Congress can help increase farm exports by moving quickly to implement pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and by reducing the number and degree of rules and regulations affecting agriculture.

“As wonderful as this news is, we must keep in mind that we will be asked to produce and export even more – much more – in the future,” Goehring said. “The world's population is expected to grow to 9 billion in just 40 years, meaning that food production must increase 70 percent. I believe it is likely that American producers will be called on to provide most of that increase.”