Recent South Korea trade mission opportunity to grow exports of U.S. ag goods

South Korea is the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural goods and a recent trade mission is helping ag officials to further develop that relationship.

USDA’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs, Alexis Taylor, says South Korea purchased more than $8 billion in exports in 2023. “We are really focused on market diversification and opening doors,” she says.  “Helping build relationships for US food and agricultural exporters in our industries and markets all over the world.”

Don Lamb, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, says there are unique export opportunities for Hoosier farmers. “For our part is beef, pork, poultry, corn and beans are a priority,” he says. “Then we also had Rose Acre Farms there as one of our state representative businesses selling eggs.  They were very happy with their time there and felt like they made some good connections. So, eggs would be another part of that specifically.”

Wes Ward, Arkansas’ Secretary of Ag tells Brownfield in addition to beef and poultry, there are opportunities to grow demand for other commodities. “Cotton and peanuts, for example.  “Certainly, we’ve got exports for cotton now.  There were several peanut representatives that were there as part of the trade mission. So looking to you know further develop those markets as well.”

Lamb says the trade mission also helped open the door for marketing other U.S.-grown specialty crops in South Korea. “Thinking about North Dakota being there, they’ve got 50 different commodities in their state,” he says.  “A lot of edible beans and things like that grow well in their environment. And we had California there. That state has all the fruits and nuts and the different things that they produce.  It’s really good to be part of a team, and the USDA FAS team puts together a really great way for us to work together where we all have an opportunity to share in that market.”

Taylor says the top five ag exports into South Korea are: beef, pork, seafood, wheat, and dried distillers’ grains (DDGs).

The recent trade mission involved officials from five state departments of agriculture and 48 agribusiness and farm organizations.  

AUDIO: Directors Lamb and Ward answer questions during call with reporters

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