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MN ag exports hit record high in 2011

Minnesota's agricultural exports hit a record $6.8 billion last year, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

This is up 13 percent or about $750 million over the previous year. The state's top exported commodities -- soybeans, corn, red meat, wheat, sugar, dairy, and feeds -- accounted for more than 80 percent of the state's total agricultural exports.

Agriculture is Minnesota's second-largest exporting sector with major markets in China, Mexico, Japan, and Canada. Nationally, Minnesota is the 6th largest agricultural exporter in the U.S.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says more than one-third of the state's total agricultural production is exported, representing a significant economic contribution to the state and its rural communities.

"These exports have a huge impact on our state's economic health," said Frederickson.

According to the MDA, agricultural exports support more than 54,000 jobs in Minnesota and generate additional economic and business activities in many non-ag sectors.

MDA is the lead state agency providing export assistance for agriculture and food producers. MDA works in partnership with the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO), which is the lead agency providing export assistance to other Minnesota manufacturers and service providers.

Here are the top exported commodities for 2011 and their values:

• Soybeans -- $1.6 billion

• Corn -- $1.3 billion

• Pork -- $740 million

• Wheat -- $459 million

• Sugar and related products -- $359 million

• Dairy -- $218 million

• Feeds -- $116 million

• Beef -- $111 million