North Carolina's Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says the USDA recently released infomration about agricultural exports for 2011 and it was a record year for the state. The total value of NC agricultural exports was mroe than $3.75 billion, a half-billion dollar increase from 2010, and boosting North Carolina to 11th in the nation.
The USDA tracks 20 commodities for the report, and North Carolina saw increases in 17 of the categories, including significant jumps in pork, cotton, chicken meat and wheat, with the largest increase seen in cotton with more than a $200 million increase. Tobacco exports saw a decrease in 2011 due to significant damage by Hurricane Irene in August of 2011.
“I am so exited the total value of our exports for agricultural products was more than $3.75 billion in 2011. The good news is that is a half billion dollar increase from 2010. It moved NC up in the national rankings. We now rank 11th in the nation in export value, but it’s a little misleading because these numbers don’t take into account the additional $1.5 billion in forestry exports. It’s safe to say we were over $5 billion. Those products are not part of the twenty commodities that the USDA uses to track. NC did extremely well in 17 of those categories. It included significant jumps in pork, cotton, chicken and wheat. The largest was actually in cotton, increasing from $306 million in 2010 to $509 million in 2011.
One category where we saw a decrease was tobacco. We can credit Hurricane Irene for that. It wiped out almost all of the tobacco east of interstate 95. That year there were companies that could not access the pounds of tobacco they wanted.
We recognize that we are in a global market and the international marketing team in the Department of Ag has worked very hard to assist our farmers and agribusiness people to get into the overseas markets. Our goal is to continue to grow this every year.
Exports support about 36,000 jobs directly on farms and indirectly in processing and storage and transportation. Any time we increase these numbers we know the NC economy is growing.
If a farmer has a product they are interested in exporting they need to contact the NC Dept of Ag international marketing department at 919-707-3153 and they can work with you. We have opened up and international trade office in Beijing China to help with the China market and we want to keep moving NC into the global market. The goal is to have a $100 billion dollar economy in NC by 2025.”