USDA reported 140.9 billion in agricultural exports for Fiscal Year 2013 on Wednesday , a record total, topping $137.4 billion in 2011.
The agricultural sector also imported $103.8 billion in goods, which is also a record level. The U.S. showed a positive trade balance of $37 billion.
The numbers reiterate comments made Wednesday by Michael Swanson, agricultural economist and senior vice president at Wells Fargo, at the American Bankers Association annual agricultural bankers conference in Minneapolis.
"We are becoming much more of a global focused export ag economy," Swanson said. He added, "We are going to depend on the global economy."
With exports to Canada and Mexico largely at capacity, attention remains on China, the dominate growth market for U.S. exports in recent years.
Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack praises the export figures, saying "2009-2013 stands as the strongest five-year period for agricultural exports in our nation’s history." He reiterated that the country's export success could be at risk if Congress doesn't get a new farm bill done.
"We need to remain focused on keeping up the incredible momentum we’ve seen over the past five years," Vilsack said. "First and foremost, Congress needs to pass a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to continue the trade promotion programs that helped American agriculture achieve these results. These trade promotion efforts return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested – a great value for producers who gain access to additional market opportunities abroad, as well as rural communities that depend on a solid agriculture sector to create and support jobs."
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