Growing a Nation

Historical Timeline — Agricultural Trade & Development

17th-18th Centuries

17th century
Tobacco is the first important American export

18th century
Colonies export tobacco, rice, indigo, grain, and meat products

1789
First tariff act, for revenue only

1789-1860
The tariff is a perennial subject of contention between the agricultural interests of the South and West and the commercial interests of the North

1790
Value of tobacco exports: $4.36 million or 44% of total exports

1800

1800-09
Average annual value of agricultural exports: $23 million or 75% of total exports

1810-19
Agricultural exports: $40 million/year or 87% of total exports

1815-60
Cotton is by far the most important agricultural export

1816
Tariff of 1816 includes protection for wool, sugar, hemp, and flax

1820

1820-29
Agricultural exports: $42 million/year or 65% of total exports

1828
Tariff of Abominations opposed by the agricultural South

1830-39
Agricultural exports: $74 million/year or 73% of total exports

1833
Tariff Act of 1833 begins tariff-reducing trend that lasts until the Civil War

1840

1840-49
Agricultural exports: $90 million/year or 65% of total exports

1850-59
Agricultural exports: $189 million/year or 81% of total exports

1851-60
Cotton exports: $124 million per year or 54% of total exports

1854-57
Crimean War provides boom for U.S. agricultural exports, especially wheat

1860

1860-69
Agricultural exports: $182 million/year or 75% of total exports

1865-80
Wheat exports increase sharply

1870-79
Agricultural exports: $453 million/year or 79% of total exports

1871
Horace Capron mission to develop Japanese agriculture

1880

1880-89
Agricultural exports: $574 million/year or 76% of total exports

1890-99
Agricultural exports: $703 million/year or 71% of total exports

1890
McKinley Tariff includes many agricultural commodities

 

1900

1900-09
Agricultural exports: $917 million/year or 58% of total exports

1905
International Institute of Agriculture established

 

1910

1910-19
Agricultural exports: $1.9 billion/year or 45% of total exports

1913
USDA's Office of Markets established to promote farm marketing

1920

1920-29
Agricultural exports: $1.94 billion/year or 42% of total exports

1921-22
Tariff acts raise rates for agricultural and other imports

1930

1930-39
Agricultural exports: $765 million/year or 32% of total exports

1930
Hawley-Smoot tariff raises rates to prohibitive levels, prompting retaliation from other countries

1939
Technical agricultural collaboration with South American countries

1940

1940-49
Agricultural exports: $2.42 billion/year or 22% of total exports

1940-46
Overseas assistance during wartime emergency

1945
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration established

1945
Food and Agriculture Organization of the Untied Nations established

1946
International Emergency Food Council established

1947
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) establishes working procedures that have substantially reduced tariffs between member nations

1948
Foreign Assistance Act provides for European Recovery Program

1949
International Wheat Program

1950

1950-59
Agricultural exports: $3.53 billion/year or 22% of total exports

1954
Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act (Food for Peace)

 

 

 

1960

1960-69
Agricultural exports: $5.76 billion/year or 22.9% of total exports

1964
Trade Expansion Act

1970

1970-79
Agricultural exports: $19.8 billion/year or 19% of total exports

1971
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research organized to fund regional research institutes in developing countries

1972
I ncreased exports to Soviet Union and elsewhere absorb agricultural surpluses, especially of grains and oilseeds

1979
Grain embargo against the Soviet Union following its invasion of Afghanistan

1980

1980-89
Agricultural exports: $35.6 billion/year or 15% of total exports

1980s
European grain and animal exports become more competitive with U.S. products

1981
U.S. agricultural exports peak at $43.8 billion, then decline until 1987; President Reagan lifts the grain embargo against the Soviet Union

1988
The U.S.-Canada trade accord initiates free trade in all commodities

1990-2000

1990-97
Agricultural exports: $48.2 billion/year or 9.5% of total exports

1990s
Farmers' Markets a popular way for small farmers to reach consumers directly

1990
Negotiations begin for a free-trade agreement with Mexico

1993
Revised GATT and new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) lower trade barriers and enhance export prospects

1996
Agricultural exports set record at $60.4 billion

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