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Minnesota agricultural exports up 22 percent in 2010

Minnesota exported $5 billion in agricultural products last year, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). This is an increase of more than $900 million from the 2009 total of $4.1 billion. It's the second time since 2008 ag exports have reached or exceeded $5 billion in Minnesota. Soybeans, corn, wheat, red meat, dairy and poultry were the top export commodities, accounting for 90 percent of the state's total agricultural exports.

Minnesota again outpaced the nation in agricultural export growth at 22 percent, compared to 13 percent for the U.S. from 2009 to 2010. Agriculture exports also performed better than the state's manufactured exports which increased 17 percent last year. Agriculture is Minnesota's second largest exporting sector with major markets in China, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

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

"These exports have a huge impact on our state's economic health," Frederickson said. "That's why it's important to continue our focus on maintaining and building export markets in the U.S. and overseas."

Frederickson said he's confident Minnesota's farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the growing world demand for high quality and safe agricultural and food products.

Based on agricultural trade multipliers, each dollar of agricultural exports generates an additional $1.36 in economic and business activities. Every $1 billion of agricultural exports supports 8,000 jobs throughout the economy. In Minnesota, more than 40,000 jobs are directly or indirectly related to agricultural exports.

Minnesota ag exports by commodity (value and growth) from 2009-2010:

Soybeans/soybean products: $2.2 billion/up 46 percent

Corn/corn products: $1.1 billion/up 9 percent

Live animals and meat: $542 million/unchanged

Wheat/wheat products: $376 million/up 4 percent

Feeds and fodder: $170 million/up 20 percent

Dairy products: $153 million/up 38 percent

Poultry products: $105 million/up 3 percent