State agricultural exports reached $2.35 billion in 2011

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

By Stephen H. Cowles/Contributing Writer

COURTLAND—Virginia agricultural exports hit a record-high $2.35 billion in 2011.

It would be impossible to pinpoint every cotton boll or peanut that was exported from Western Tidewater, said Southampton County Extension Agent Chris Drake.

Drake did, however, have some statistics on what county farmers grew in relation to the total Virginia acreage.

• Cotton—46,720 acres out of Virginia’s 115,000 acres, or about 41 percent.
• Peanuts—5,196 acres out of 15,700 acres, or 33 percent.
• Corn—8,100 acres out of 340,000 acres, or 2.4 percent.
• Soybeans—25,800 acres out of 550,000 acres, or 4.7 percent.

“The cotton, corn and soybean acreage (for this year) will remain within 5 percent of 2011, I predict,” Drake said. “But the peanut acreage may increase 35 to 50 percent in our county; statewide it may be up 25 percent or more to 20,000 acres.”

Virginia’s 2011 agricultural exports were more than 6 percent higher than 2010, and a two percent-plus increase above 2009, according to a news release from Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell stated that last year Morocco became the state’s top agricultural exporter at $360 million. The year before it was in third place at $180 million.

China was second in 2011 at $304 million, with Canada third — first in 2010 — at $220 million.

Other major export products included poultry, wheat, pork, lumber and wood, animal feed, unprocessed leaf tobacco, fats and oils, marine and aquaculture products, vegetables, hides and skins, processed foods and beverages, including wine.