Trade Toolkit

These resources are intended for farmers and grain industry stakeholders to use in their outreach. Questions, comments or suggestions? Email Melissa Kessler, USGC director of strategic relations, at


Want to know more about trade’s structure, economic impact and key issues? Go to the Learn About Trade page. Or start with the Backgrounder: The Essential Guide To U.S. Trade, published by USGC in July 2019, available here.


Charts of Note – charts that explain hot trade topics are here.

Infographics – infographics useful for trade outreach are here.

Elevator Speech on Ag Trade

  • The flow of goods, ideas, capital and people is essential for prosperity.
  • 95.7% of the world’s population lives outside the U.S.
  • More than 97% of the anticipated population growth over the next 35 years will take place outside of U.S. borders.
  • Agriculture is the U.S. foreign trade champion.
    • The United States has negotiated trade agreements with 20 countries since the end of World War II, including that which established the World Trade Organization.
    • In the 2017/2018 marketing year, U.S. grains exports to these countries accounted for HALF of all U.S. grains exports, according to USDA data.
  • Trade policy + market development = sales!
  • Failing to move forward on trade means falling behind.
  • When trade works, the world wins!

Talking Points – Grains In All Forms

  • In 2017/2018, the United States set a record for the second year in a row for exports of coarse grains and co-products, with nearly 120 million metric tons in exports of grain in all forms, equal to roughly 4.75 billion bushels.
  • Mexico topped all other markets in GIAF imports, with total marketing year shipments growing 6.3 percent year-over-year to a new record of 25.2 million tons – almost 1 billion bushels in corn equivalent.
  • By category, Mexico ranked as the largest buyer of U.S. corn, barley and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) – with sales in each category increasing from the prior year.
  • Japan was the second largest overall GIAF market in 2017/2018 with shipments roughly unchanged from last year at 16.9 million tons (665 million bushels).
  • Japan ranked as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest buyer of U.S. barley and the ninth largest market for U.S. DDGS.
  • South Korea rounded out the top three overall importers, increasing purchases of U.S. coarse grains and co-products by 11.8 percent to 9.33 million tons (367 million bushels) – a new record.
  • South Korea ranked as second largest buyer of U.S. DDGS, the third largest buyer of U.S. corn and sixth largest buyer of U.S. ethanol in addition to significant sales of U.S. sorghum.

Talking Points – MAP and FMD

  • Both Market Access Program (MAP) funding and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program funding are part of the farm bill.
  • In the 2014 Farm Bill, MAP was funded at $200 million/year, and FMD was funded at $34.5 million/year.
  • FMD covers USGC fixed costs overseas including staff and offices. MAP generally covers the programs those staff operate.
  • Since Congress failed to pass a new farm bill by Sept. 30, FMD’s funding baseline has ended, and USDA cannot allocate new funds to FMD cooperators – including the U.S. Grains Council – for fiscal year 2019.
  • Without a new farm bill in place, the market development infrastructure built with FMD and farmer funds is under serious threat, right when export promotion is needed most.
  • In addition to maintaining the human infrastructure, having a continual flow of FMD funds ensures USGC staff can continue aggressively pursuing near-term market opportunities and long-term market development efforts.
  • More about these programs is at

Talking Points – NAFTA/USMCA for U.S. Grains

  • The U.S. feed grains industry has benefited substantially from NAFTA.
  • Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to these regional partners have increased 300 percent.
  • Prior to the agreement, Mexico maintained strict controls on grains via licensing requirements and provided guaranteed prices to domestic producers of many field crops, including corn.
  • Under NAFTA, Mexico transitioned to a system featuring duty-free trade with the U.S. and Canada and rising demand for feed and food has created new opportunities for intraregional trade in grains.
  • Mexico was the top market for U.S. corn in 2017/2018.
    • Corn exports to Mexico reached a record high of 15.7 million tons (618 million bushels), up nearly 13 percent from 2016/2017 to 2017/2018.
  • Mexico was also the largest customer for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2017/2018.
    • Mexico is the top buyer of U.S. DDGS, purchasing 2.13 million tons in 2017/2018 – up 3 percent year-over-year.
  • Mexico was the top buyer of U.S. barley in 2017/2018.
  • Mexico is also a leading buyer of U.S. sorghum.
  • In 2016, more than 17.3 million metric tons of corn and corn co-producers were exported to Mexico and Canada, valued at $3.2 billion. These exports produced $4.1 billion in economic activity as well as supported 25,000 jobs and 300,000 farms.

Talking Points – NAFTA/USMCA In General

  • Over the past 20 years, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico tripled and quintupled, respectively. One in every 10 acres on American farms is planted to feed hungry Canadian and Mexicans.
  • Rising demand for feed and food has created new opportunities for intraregional trade in grains and oilseeds. Poultry and hog producers in Mexico, for instance, rely heavily in imported feedstuffs as they seek to meet their country’s growing demand for meat.
  • The market share of U.S. total agricultural exports to the world sent to Mexico and Canada has increased 9 percent, from an average of 19 percent (1990-1993) to 28 percent (2013-2016).
  • Between 1993 and 2013, the total value of trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico expanded from $16.7 billion to $82.0 billion, an increase of 233 percent when inflation is taken into account, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
  • Total U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled, growing from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $38.6 billion in 2015.
    U.S. agricultural exports, which are heavily reliant upon the North American market, also support 1,132,000 full-time civilian jobs, including 808,000 jobs in the non-farm sector.
  • Based on a U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate, for every $1 of agricultural exports, another $1.22 is generated in business activity. That is, in 2016 U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada supported $47 billion in additional business activity.
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the processed food industry across North America translates into additional sales of U.S. agricultural products, further supporting American jobs. In 2012, majority-owned affiliates of U.S. multinational food companies had sales of $32.4 billion in Canada and $13.8 billion in Mexico, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Between 1993-2015, trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico quadrupled.