Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final tally for agricultural exports in fiscal year 2011:
"Thanks to the productivity of America's farmers, ranchers and producers, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Farm exports in fiscal year 2011 reached a record high of $137.4 billion-exceeding past highs by $22.5 billion-and supported 1.15 million jobs here at home. Furthermore, agriculture continues to bolster our nation's economy by contributing a trade surplus year after year. This year, that surplus hit approximately $42 billion, a record.
"U.S. agriculture continues to be a bright spot in America's economy and a driving force behind export growth, job creation and our nation's competitiveness, underscored by the increasing demand for U.S. food and agriculture around the world. For the first full fiscal year, China was the lead export market for farm products, buying almost $20 billion of goods such as soybeans, cotton, tree nuts and hides."