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Source: Southern U.S. Trade Association news release

Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller was elected the president of the Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) at the organization's annual board of directors' meeting this week. The meeting was held in connection with the annual business meeting of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

SUSTA is made up of the Departments of Agriculture in 15 southern states and is chartered to facilitate exports of U.S. food and high value agricultural products by small to medium-sized companies in the region. SUSTA's Board of Directors, comprised of the Secretaries and Commissioners of Agriculture in their member states, chose Miller to lead the organization for the coming term.

"I am humbled by the confidence placed in me by my colleagues around the South," said Miller. "Exports are so important to our Texas farmers and ranchers, small food companies, and to our local economies throughout the state," he continued, "and SUSTA is dedicated to promoting exports by opening new markets and maintaining existing markets."

SUSTA works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in administering federal export promotion programs, especially the Market Access Program (MAP) along with investments by the states and individual companies. In 2017, 40 small and medium-sized companies from Texas exported more than $38.8 million in food and value-added agricultural products around the globe. Products exported with the support of SUSTA's marketing activities ranged from snack foods to distilled spirits, and from sauces to nursery plants.

"USDA estimates that for every $1 of exports, another $1.27 in economic activity is created, so the small ag and food businesses in Texas that participated with SUSTA generated about $88 million in total economic growth in the local and rural economies across the Lone Star State. That's why we do this," Miller added.

SUSTA has facilitated trade between small to medium-sized southern U.S. companies and overseas importers since 1973 via the USDA's Market Access Program and support from the Departments of Agriculture in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. SUSTA's administrative offices are located in New Orleans.

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