The total value of N.C. agricultural exports was more than $3.75 billion in 2011, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The record amount is an increase of half a billion dollars from 2010 and was enough to rank North Carolina 11th in the nation for overall agricultural exports.
Our International Trade Office is working to make North Carolina agriculture an international-based economy by 2025, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. The new numbers show how North Carolina farmers are rising to meet the food and fiber demands of a growing world population.
The USDA tracks 20 commodities for the report. Of those, North Carolina saw increases in 17 of the categories, including significant jumps in pork, cotton, chicken meat and wheat. The largest increase was seen in cotton, which increased from $306 million in 2010 to $509 million in 2011. Tobacco exports saw a decrease in 2011 due to significant crop damage in Eastern North Carolina caused by Hurricane Irene.
Overall, we're very pleased with these numbers,Troxler said. And they don;t even take into account the additional $1.5 billion in forestry products, such as wood, pulp and paper, the state exports annually.
Agricultural exports help boost farm prices and incomes for local farmers. In addition, exports support about 36,000 jobs directly on farms and indirectly through food processing, storage and transportation jobs.
For more information on agricultural exports, including a breakdown of exports by commodity, go to http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/international/NCAgExportStatistics.htm.