BOISE — Idaho agricultural exports through the first half of 2013 are on pace to exceed last year’s record total of $921 million.
Idaho’s farm sector sold $501 million worth of farm commodities from January to June, which is 7.37 percent more than the $466 million sold during that same period in 2012.
If that pace continues, Idaho ag exports will exceed $1 billion for the first time and reach a record for the third straight year.
“All the forecasts we’re seeing … point to 2013 being another record year for Idaho agricultural exports,” said Laura Johnson, manager of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s market development division.
Johnson said a lot of emerging countries that Idaho sells agricultural products to are experiencing tremendous economic growth, which is fueling demand for additional food products, and she expects Idaho ag exports to continue to increase over record levels.
“I think long-term, those trends point to continued growth for some time,” she said.
Those totals are based on Census Bureau Data that are broken down for the
Idaho State Department of Agriculture by Global Trade Information Services.
The record pace during the half of 2013 came despite a minor decrease in total dairy sales, which totaled $140 million and accounted for 28 percent of Idaho ag exports.
Idaho dairy exports had dipped 14 percent during the first quarter but were only down .17 percent during the first half compared with last year.
That decrease was made up for by significant increases in several other categories, including vegetables, oilseeds, wheat and other cereal flours, preserved foods, and live animals.
The overall increase also came despite a 33 percent decline in the sale of farm commodities to Japan, which imported $25 million worth of Idaho ag products and was the sixth-largest market for Idaho farm commodities.
But the top five markets all grew, led by Canada, which purchased $117 million worth of Idaho farm commodities, a 9.6 percent increase.
Mexico imported $82 million worth of Idaho ag products, a 7.3 percent gain, and was followed by China ($46 million, 8 percent gain), South Korea ($29 million, 20 percent) and Indonesia ($27 million, 17 percent).
The increase to Canada was driven by rapeseed sales and Mexico’s increase was due largely to malt and potato flakes and granules.
Idaho farm commodities continue to make major inroads into South Korea following the free-trade agreement with that country that went into effect in 2011. The sale of Idaho ag products to South Korea have risen from $12 million during the first half of 2011 to $29 million during the same period in 2013.
The phased lowering of tariffs in many different categories makes that country a promising market for Idaho farm products, said Katlin Davis, an ISDA trade specialist.
“Korea offers a very good opportunity for Idaho agriculture, especially three of its largest farm commodities: potatoes, beef and dairy products,” she said.