USDA reported last week that U.S. farm exports reached an all-time high in 2010, showing again that agriculture is one bright spot in an otherwise middling economy.
Ag exports were worth $115.8 billion in 2010, surpassing the previous high export record of $114.8 billion set in 2008, a year of high prices and short supplies due to weather and other issues for many crops, including wheat.
Export sales of bulk commodities increased 19 percent to $47.2 billion, and consumer-oriented agricultural products increased by 15 percent to $45.4 billion.
For the 2009/2010 marketing year, U.S. wheat export sales totaled 22.7 million metric tons (MMT). According to USDA’s weekly Export Sales Report, exports of all classes of wheat for the current 2010/2011 marketing year, through Feb. 10, were 29.6 MMT, 55 percent higher than last year at this time.
Top markets for overall ag exports were China, with $17.5 billion in sales, and Canada, with $16.9 billion in sales. Nigeria and Japan imported the most U.S. wheat in 2009/2010, purchasing 3.5 MMT and 3.4 MMT respectively.
USDA says that every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 8,000 American jobs, which means agricultural exports supported nearly 1 million jobs in 2010.
About half of U.S.-produced wheat is exported in a typical year, sales that are supported by the industry’s export market development organization, U.S. Wheat Associates.
U.S. Wheat works in 100 countries around the world, supporting 15 overseas offices and two U.S. offices. Its activities are funded by grower check-off dollars and matching grants from the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
A recent study showed market development activities for wheat undertaken with FAS and producer funds return $115 to the economy for every $1 spent.
The latest export data is available via the Global Agricultural Trade System at http://www.fas.usda.gov/data.asp.
More information on wheat exports and prices is available at http://www.uswheat.org/reports.