USDA: Record 2011 Farm Exports Support 1 Million U.S. Jobs

February 16, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that U.S. farm exports reached a new record of $136.3 billion in the 2011 calendar year.

New data from the Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) shows upticks in both the value and volume of U.S. agricultural exports worldwide in 2011, with international sales rising $20.5 billion over the previous record set in calendar year 2010.

Vilsack said the data show that U.S. agriculture remains a bright spot in the economy and that demand for American agricultural goods continues to increase.

He noted that every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 8,400 American jobs, meaning that U.S. farm exports helped support more than 1 million U.S. jobs in 2011 throughout the farming, transportation, renewable energy, manufacturing and other sectors.

“That gets to the innovation of our American farmers, ranchers and growers,” Vilsack said in a statement. “American agriculture continues to apply the latest in technology and achieve a nearly unparalleled level of productivity. In fact, U.S. agriculture is the second-most productive sector of our economy in the past few decades outside of information technology.”

Vilsack said that exports of almost all major U.S. commodities rose in 2011, with grains the biggest contributor to the record at $37.7 billion, a $9.2 billion increase over 2010. Cotton, pork, beef and dairy exports also set records, at $8.5 billion, $6 billion, $5.4 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively.

Wheat exports in the 2011 fiscal year (versus calendar year) were worth about $11.48 billion. About half of the U.S. wheat crop is exported in a typical marketing season, bolstered by robust marketing efforts undertaken around the globe by U.S farmers, in association with FAS.

The latest export data is available via the Global Agricultural Trade System at http://www.fas.usda.gov/data.asp.

More about buying U.S. wheat is available from U.S. Wheat Associates at http://www.uswheat.org.