April 3, 2012 – With more than 25 percent of farm cash receipts attributable to export sales, expanding Virginia’s agribusiness exports is a major a priority for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his administration. The export trade reached a record $2.3 billion in exports in 2011, a more than 6 percent increase from 2010.
“The growth in agricultural exports comes despite a continued slow economic recovery worldwide,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said.
“Agriculture would shrink substantially if it were not for exports,” said Richard Crowder, former U.S. chief agriculture trade negotiator, and professor of agricultural and applied economics at Virginia Tech.
Top exports in 2011 included soybeans, poultry, wheat, pork, lumber and wood products, animal feed, and corn.
Exports, which support jobs from the farms to seaports, are key to keeping Virginia’s economy moving forward, McDonnell said.
Morocco is Virginia’s top agricultural export customer with exports totaling more than $360 million in 2011, an increase from $180 million in 2010 when Morocco was the third largest customer. Morocco is followed by China, which saw its exports increase to $304 million from $194 million in 2010. China mostly imports soybeans from Virginia. Canada is Virginia’s third largest export customer at $220 million in exports.
“Recent agreements and export deals have included soybean shipments to China and Japan, live cattle exports to Russia, wine sales to Europe and China, and new seafood business in Europe as well as Hong Kong,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “We’re hoping to build on this success in 2012 and 2013.”
Virginia is known for quality products and McDonnell wants to increase its international trade by opening agricultural trade offices in Africa and Central America. The plan also calls for developing business in unconventional markets, such as Cuba and Venezuela.
“We look at the world as our customer,” McDonnell said.
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said the McDonnell administration has plans to increase the staff at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services within the commonwealth.
With more than 25 percent of farm cash receipts attributable to export sales, expanding Virginia’s agribusiness exports is a major a priority for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his administration. The export trade reached a record $2.3 billion in exports in 2011, a more than 6 percent increase from 2010.
Virginia’s agricultural products can be found in practically every corner of the world. Still, foreign diplomats who spoke at the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade in Richmond on March 13 and 14 said they are eager to import even more.
Several students and recent graduates from Virginia Tech and a 23-year-old, fifth-generation farmer from Tanner, Ala., rubbed elbows with many influential leaders and foreign diplomats at the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade held March 13 and 14 in Richmond.