Virginia exported $2.24B in ag products in 2010

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NORFOLK—Despite a worldwide recession and statewide drought, Virginia exports totaled $2.24 billion in 2010, slightly behind the record $2.3 billion for agricultural exports in 2009.

Additionally, 2011 is shaping up to be a good year, said Gov. Bob McDonnell. Year-to-date numbers are up 2 percent over 2010. The announcement was made during last week’s 3rd Annual International Virginia Agricultural Trade Conference in Norfolk.

“When you consider the worldwide recession, severe drought in areas of Virginia and political turmoil around the world, the 2010 figures are very promising,” McDonnell said. “Virginia currently ranks ninth in the nation in agricultural export value. Agriculture and forestry are the top two industries in Virginia, and we must continue to strengthen and grow them to ensure our economic vitality.

Top products in 2010 were soybeans, grains (wheat, corn, barley, animal feed), pork, poultry, leaf tobacco, wood products and logs, fats and oils, cotton, seafood and aquaculture products, fresh vegetables, and hides and skins.

Virginia’s top 20 export markets are a mix of developed and emerging markets, including Canada in the number one spot, China, Morocco, Belgium, Indonesia, Tunisia, Turkey, Venezuela, Russia, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Jamaica.

In addition, Virginia’s standing as a top agricultural and forestry products exporter are enhanced by a strategic mid-Atlantic location, a business-friendly climate, and the state’s world-class air, sea port facilities and inland port, as well as excellent rail and interstate systems.

Virginia, in coordination with the state’s agricultural and forestry interests, has a strategic plan to continue to grow its agricultural and forestry exports. The state’s efforts, led by the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd P. Haymore and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Marketing and Development staff, focus on retaining strong market presence in mature and established markets like Canada, China and Japan, and aggressively pursuing growth opportunities in emerging markets such as India, Turkey, and Mexico.

In addition, Virginia also continues developing business in unconventional markets, such as Cuba and Venezuela, both of which offer great export opportunities for the state’s growers and producers. Secretary Haymore and VDACS will also work with its partners in state government, including the Secretariat of Commerce and Trade, the Virginia Port Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, to find more export opportunities.