The US Department of Agriculture held their annual Agricultural Outlook Forum on February 23-24 in Arlington, Virginia. The forum is the USDA’s largest annual meeting and serves as a platform to discuss key issues within agriculture. This year’s opening speaker was USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson, who presented the outlook for U.S. agriculture in 2017, including his predictions for global trade.
The STEP ND 2015-16 results are in and demonstrate the sterling returns that come from investing in North Dakota’s exporters. A total of $287,694 was awarded to the NDTO in 2015 through the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program grant. To date, over $23 million of exports have been reported as a result of activities covered under this grant, including international sales trips, trade missions and USCS services. This means that STEP companies have achieved a return on investment of over 82:1! And there’s still more funding to take advantage of.
As world markets rapidly change, questions loom for North Dakota’s exporters. The question on the minds of many is, what’s going on with the global economy right now?
WCCO Belting, a seasoned exporter and the only North Dakota company to have received the Presidential “E Star” Award for Export Success, has its roots in a basement shoe repair business. From a one man show to employing more than 250 people at two locations today, WCCO Belting has won over customers nationally and internationally. A refocus on export opportunities in 2002 turned the company into a multi-million-dollar rubber products manufacturer that generates more than 50% of its sales from customers located outside of the United States. WCCO now sells into over twenty countries.
NAFTA has been in the hot seat recently, though the controversial trade agreement never really got out of it. At issue is the U.S.’s trade relationship with Mexico, a developing country in comparison to the U.S. and Canada. Viewpoints on the effects of NAFTA over the years vary depending on the source, but what do the non-partisan institutions say about it? We took a look.
The Philippine economy has led its ASEAN partners in terms of GDP growth, achieving an overall rate of 6.8% during 2016 according to information released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last week. This rate edged out the neighboring countries of China (6.7%) and Vietnam (6.2%.) This level of growth builds upon other favorable market indicators such as a growing Filipino middle class and an increasing preference for healthy foods.
A bill to improve truck productivity in North Dakota is on the table for legislators to vote on this legislative session. The bill would amend North Dakota Century Code Title 24 by creating a limited network of roads within the state on which a 129,000-pound gross vehicle weight is allowed for long combination vehicles. The intent for boosting truck productivity is to increase the transport of regional agricultural products to the Port of Minot, keeping transportation revenues within the state and lowering costs for exporters.
According to a United Nations report released in late 2016, 47% percent of the world is now using the internet. This is up from the 43% estimated one year prior. Each percentage point of this statistic represents millions of people that now have access to life-changing health and education information, as well as global commerce. This report, along with the annual report from WeAreSocial.com, details internet use by country, painting a picture of how connected we are, and how far we have to go.
Fifth generation owner/partner and vice president of SB&B Foods, Todd Sinner, is currently traveling, visiting customers of the family’s food-grade ingredient company based in Casselton, North Dakota. He will join his father, Robert Sinner as they complete yet another journey overseas to build upon the popularity of SB&B Foods’ non-GMO, identity-preserved products in international markets. The family-owned company delivers food-grade products to approximately 70 customers outside of the U.S., a patronage earned after years of effort.