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The United States and Global Food Trade Essay

The United States, spanning more than nine million square kilometers of land area, is composed of fifty (50) states and one district (District of Columbia). Due to its mostly temperate climate, except for some tropical, arctic and semiarid areas, and generally flat terrain, it is very much suitable to the production of a wide variety of field crops. However, being a first-world country, Agriculture is not anymore the leading sector and the main source of revenue. Industries and services comprise the bulk of the revenues of the US amounting to 20.6 % and 78. 5 % of the total GDP, respectively.

Consequently, only 0. 6 % of the total labor force is engaged in farming, forestry and fisheries as compared to the 99. 4 % of labor force engaged in other activities such as manufacturing, extraction, transportation and crafts (22. 6 %), managerial, professional and technical (36. 5 %), sales and office (24. 8 %) and other services (16. 5 %).

Nevertheless, 18. 22 % of the total land area is still devoted to agriculture (CIA, 2008). Georgia is the 10th largest state of the US; it spans 153,951.48 square kilometers (Georgia). This state has a sub-tropical climate with mild winters and

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hot moist summers. It receives an annual rainfall of 40” to 75” and has a temperature range of 92. 2° F to 32. 6° F. These conditions make Georgia suitable to agriculture. In fact, agriculture is practiced in Georgia for a very long time and comprises 16 % of its present economic output (Georgia DA, 2008). The state produces a wide array of agricultural products, which includes fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, other horticultural crops, and cotton.

Fresh fruits include blueberries, peaches, melons, cantaloupes, sweet corn and watermelons, while the vegetables include bell peppers, cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, greens, snap beans and Vidalia onions, to name a few (Georgia DA, 2008). Georgia exports most of its crops to other states and to other countries. The leading commodities it exports are cotton, peanuts, peaches and Vidalia onions, its official state vegetable. However, broiler chickens top its list as its primary and most abundant export (Georgia DA, 2008).

Vegetable production in Georgia is progressive such that it produces an estimated value of $650 million of farm gate price and covers an area that ranks 3rd in acreage of land planted to vegetable in the whole US. This makes vegetable crops the second most valuable agricultural crop in Georgia (The New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2008). Between-state trading is vital in the US because of the vastness of its area. The US is so vast that it covers six different time zones. It also has areas with different climates and soil characteristics (CIA, 2008).

This means that not every state could produce the same crop because of the environmental limitations. For instance, Georgia does not produce rice because other crops are more suited to grow at the state. This means that if between-state trading is absent, rice will not be available in the state. It also has a small production of wheat meaning that bread, the staple food, will also be very limited. This entails that trading between states is essential to ensure food security of a given state. This also allows each state to concentrate on the production of a few selected crops which then ensures the adequacy of the supply of a crop.

If a state would produce all the crops and not just concentrate on a few, this could create shortage, whereas if there is concentration of crops, there would be more production and surplus would be created which could then enable the country to export to other countries. The exportation and importation of goods lead to globalization and global food trade. Globalization, or the interaction between the people of two or more nations, has been in effect for centuries as evident from the trading of China and Europe.

However, technological advancements and information technology paved way for its development making it easier for countries to trade (Globalization101). Food is one of the major commodities being traded between countries, together with petroleum products and other industrial supplies. Global food trade is essential both for the exporting and importing country. For the exporting country, this is because this is an additional source of revenue. This also eliminates the possibility of wastage of the surplus products. On the other hand, for the importing country, this is because this ensures the adequacy of the food supply of the country.

This would also allow the country to focus on other sectors instead of devoting its resources to food production when it knows that it could not succeed in it. In a two-way perspective, this is beneficial since division of labor is occurring and a country could specialize in one sector while the other could focus on another. This would then ensure the availability of supplies in both countries. The USA, having the largest and most technologically advanced economy in the world, is the leader in globalization. It trades with different countries including Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Germany and other countries.

Agricultural products are one of the products it exports and imports comprising 9. 2 % of total exports and 4. 9 % of total imports, respectively. In addition, it also exports industrial supplies (26. 8%), capital goods (49. 0%) and consumer goods (15. 0%), while it imports industrial supplies (32. 9%), crude oil (8. 2%), capital goods (30. 4%) and consumer goods (31. 8%) (CIA, 2008). If global food trade would cease, the US would likely be able to survive. This is because it has enough resources to sustain its food supply. Though it imports some agricultural products, it is still able to export some other agricultural products.

This means that there is enough supply for the country to survive. However, though it can survive, there would still be an impact on the economy since some of its revenues come from exporting agricultural products. In addition, resources would be shifted to food production making it hamper the development of the other sectors. This would happen to other countries and world economy would greatly be affected.


Central Intelligence Agency. (2008, May 15). The World Factbook: United States. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from https://www. cia. gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us. html Georgia.

Geography. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from http://www. georgia. org/Location/Geography. htm Georgia Department of Agriculture. (2008). Georgia Grown Varieties. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from http://agr. georgia. gov/00/article/0,2086,38902732_0_90132031,00. html Georgia Department of Agriculture. (2008). Look Georgia Agriculture. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from http://agr. georgia. gov/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/7/36/59432712LOOK%20AT%20GEORGIA. pdf Globalization101. What Is Globalization?. Retrieved May 20, 2008 from http://www. globalization101. org/What_is_Globalization. html? PHPSESSID=38e3a16dc532da8c195675e9a1cc785e

The New Georgia Encyclopedia. (2008). Vegetable Production. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from http://www. newgeorgiaencyclopedia. org/nge/Article. jsp? id=h-1005 Lists of Items: 1. Extra Sweet Pineapple – Product of Costa Rica 2. Collards – Product of USA – Gilbert, SC. 3. Organic Broccoli – Product of USA – Santa Maria, CA. 4. Bananas – Product of Costa Rica 5. Coconut Product of Dominican Republic 6. Vidalia Onions – Product of USA – Georgia 7. Lemons – Product of USA – Sherman Oaks, CA 8. Idaho Potatoes – Product of USA – Idaho Falls, ID. 9. Honeydew Product of Honduras 10. Cantaloupe Product of Honduras

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