Idaho on pace for ag export record

Cows feed at a dairy near Kuna, Idaho, earlier this year. Sales of dairy products to other countries was a large reason that the total value of Idaho ag exports through September was on record pace.

BOISE — Idaho is on pace to set a record for agricultural exports for the third straight year.

Through the end of September, the value of all Idaho ag products sold to other countries was $736 million, a 7.6 increase over the $684 million total during the same period in 2012.

Idaho exported a record $921 million in ag products in 2012, a 10.5 percent increase over the record of $834 million set in 2011, which was a 22 percent increase over the former record set in 2008.

Those totals are based on Census Bureau Data that are broken down for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture by Global Trade Information Services.

Much of the increase this year can be attributed to increased exports to Idaho’s top two markets for ag products, Canada and Mexico. Exports to Canada rose 6.9 percent to $153 million and they increased 8.5 percent ($124 million) to Mexico.

“Canada and Mexico continue to be good markets for Idaho ag products and we’ve seen continued growth in both of those countries,” said ISDA Agriculture Trade Specialist Amanda Gibson.

Ag exports to China and South Korea, the third and fourth largest markets for Idaho farm products, also grew, 5 percent ($74 million) and 31 percent ($47 million), respectively.

There was a significant dip in exports to Japan, the state’s fifth largest market, as that country purchased $36 million worth of Idaho ag products through the first three quarters of 2013, a 29 percent decrease compared to last year’s $51 million total.

Dairy products accounted for 31 percent of Idaho ag exports and totaled $230 million, a 3.7 percent increase over last year.

Higher commodity prices and rising incomes in emerging economies helped push the value of Idaho ag exports up this year, but dairy remains the main reason, said Idaho Farm Bureau Federation spokesman John Thompson

“It’s a combination of a whole bunch of things but dairy is by far the biggest reason in terms of total dollars,” he said. “Growth in the middle class of a lot of those countries we export to is another big reason.”

The total export value of products listed under the miscellaneous grain, seed and fruit category rose 12.9 percent to $98 million and Idaho sold $96 million worth of vegetables through September, a 2 percent increase over 2012.

The milling, malt and starch category, which includes potato flakes, totaled $66 million, a 49 percent increase, preserved food rose 9.5 percent to $51 million and sugars, which includes dairy lactose, totaled $46 million, a 17 percent increase.


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