Hubbard Breeders will be one of 34 U.S. businesses and organizations that will be represented on a trade mission to Peru and Chile. The mission, which will be led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will take place March 14 to March 18 in an effort to expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.

Peru and Chile are also members of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which concluded negotiations in October 2015 on a historic trade agreement. Passage of TPP by the U.S. Congress will provide new market access across the board for America's farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs, eliminating barriers, boosting exports and supporting jobs in America's rural economies.

"South America has been one of the fastest-growing world regions for exports of U.S. farm and food products, and Chile and Peru have been among the most rapidly growing markets in the region," Vilsack stated in a USDA press release. "I look forward to joining U.S. agricultural leaders to explore the many market opportunities that exist in this part of the world, particularly in light of the fact that both Chile and Peru are part of the TPP."

This mission begins in Peru, where U.S. agricultural and related product exports have more than doubled since the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force in 2009. The United States is already Peru's top supplier of both bulk and consumer-oriented products as well as imported ethanol, and the country's steady economic growth and expanding middle class point to further growth potential for U.S. exports across all sectors.

Participants will then travel to Chile, where all U.S. products enjoy duty-free access thanks to the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Since the agreement was enacted in 2004, U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Chile have grown nearly 600 percent, with the most significant increase being in high-value, consumer-oriented products. With rising consumer spending and the highest per-capita gross domestic product in South America, Chile holds many opportunities for U.S. exporters.

Mission participants represent a wide range of agricultural products and commodities, including grains, livestock, produce, processed foods and beverages, sugar, cotton, lumber and ethanol. They will meet with potential customers and host government representatives, forging relationships and learning about the market conditions and business environment in Chile and Peru. This first-hand intelligence will help them develop strategies to start or expand sales to these key markets.