Trade Toolkit

The resources on this Trade Toolkit page are intended for farmers and grain industry stakeholders to use in their outreach on trade and market development topics.

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email Ellen Zimmerman at USGC,


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.


Charts of Note – charts that explain hot trade topics.

Infographics – infographics with the latest trade.

Elevator Speech on Ag Trade

  • The flow of goods, ideas, capital and people is essential for prosperity.
  • 95%+ 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.
    • Recent agreements with Japan and China, which are not full FTAs, have also demonstrated the importance of policy to grain and grain product sales.
    • In most years, sales to countries with which the U.S. has an FTA account for more than half of all U.S. grains in all forms exports.
  • 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

  • Overall, 87.1 million metric tons, equivalent to 3.4 billion bushels, of U.S. grains in all forms were exported in 2022/2023.
  • Information about top exporters

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

  • The U.S. feed grains industry has benefited substantially from NAFTA and its successor agreement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.
  • 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. Rising demand for feed and food has created new opportunities for intraregional trade in grains.
  • Mexico ranked as the GIAF market in 2022/2023 with exports of more than 26.8 million metric tons (equal to 9.5 billion bushels), valued at $11.2 billion.
    • By commodity, Mexico was the top market for U.S. corn, DDGS, barley and barley products, pork and pork products, poultry and poultry products and coarse grain products.
    • Mexico was the second-largest market for U.S. sorghum.
    • Mexico was the third-largest market for U.S. beef and beef products.
  • U.S. grains in all forms exports have increased more than 300 percent to Mexico since NAFTA went into effect in 1994.
    • Overall, both U.S. corn and U.S. DDGS exports to Mexico have increased more than 10-fold.
  • Canada ranked the fourth-largest GIAF market in 2022/2023 with exports of more totaling 6.4 million metric tons (equal to 251 million bushels), valued at $5 billion.
    • By commodity, Canada was the top market for U.S. ethanol, the second-largest market for barley and barley products and coarse grain products and the fifth-largest market for beef and beef products, corn and DDGS.
  • U.S. grains in all forms sales to Canada have increased more than 500 percent since NAFTA went into effect in 1994.
    • U.S. corn sales to Canada have increased more than four-fold.

Talking Points – China

  • On Feb. 14, 2020, the Phase 1 Agreement between the U.S. and China went into effect with China agreeing to expand baseline purchases of goods and services from the United States by $200 billion between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021.
  • According to analysis from the Peterson Institute on International Economics, between January 2020 and December 2021, China purchased an estimated 83 percent of the $80 billion in agricultural products committed to in the Phase One deal.
  • The purchasing commitments China made under the Phase 1 Agreement came to an end on Dec. 31, 2021.
  • The Phase 1 deal was an important development in the U.S.-China relationship that helped open the door for enormous corn sales in the past two marketing years as well as an understanding of how our industries can work together over time.
  • China purchased more U.S. corn in 2021 than any country in history. USGC believes this is due to a combination of market conditions and a willingness to honor Phase One commitments.
  • The Council sees the December deadline not so much as an end to the deal, but a starting point for enhanced and honest discussions about the complex economic relationship between our two countries.
  • The Council believes there is enormous potential for a mutually beneficial commercial relationship between U.S. producers of corn, sorghum, barley, ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles with consumers and end users in China.
  • The Council has worked in China for nearly 40 years providing a wide range of technical assistance in the feed, livestock and other industries there, and has developed strong relationships with customers of our products in China.

Talking Points – Market Development Programs

  • Both Market Access Program (MAP) funding and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program funding are part of the farm bill.
  • In the 2018 Farm Bill, Agricultural Trade Promotion and Facilitation – an umbrella program for MAP and FMD – was funded at $255 million per year.
    • Of this, $200 million/per year is allocated for MAP, and $34.5 million/year was allocated for FMD.
    • More about these programs is explained in this infographic.
  • FMD covers USGC fixed costs overseas including staff and offices. MAP generally covers the programs those staff operate.
  • In addition to maintaining the human infrastructure, having a continual flow of market development funds – today, supplemented by funds from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program – ensures USGC staff can continue aggressively pursuing near-term market opportunities and long-term market development efforts.
  • More about these programs is at