According to trade information from the U.S. Department of Commerce, ag exports set a new record in 2021. Exports of American farm and food products totaled $177 billion, surpassing forecasts for $173.5 billion in export value. The export figures represent an increase of 18 percent over 2020 export value, and an increase of nearly 15 percent from the last record-setting year in 2014.
“These record-breaking trade numbers demonstrate that U.S. agriculture is incredibly resilient as it continues to provide high-quality, cost-competitive farm and food products to customers around the globe and that the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda is working for American farmers and producers,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “This is a major boost for the economy as a whole, and particularly for our rural communities, with agricultural exports stimulating local economic activity, helping maintain our competitive edge globally, supporting producers’ bottom lines, and supporting more than 1.3 million jobs on the farm and in related industries such as food processing and transportation.”
New records were set in export value to six of the top 10 markets for American ag products, which all experienced increases in 2021. Ag exports to Canada, China, Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, and South Korea reached new highs. Exports to China reached a new record, increasing 25 percent over 2020 to a total of $33 billion, making it the most valuable export market. Individual U.S. commodities such as dairy, beef, and soybeans also saw record-setting export levels.
“Outstanding results like last year’s record-setting $7.75 billion in U.S. dairy exports don’t happen overnight,” said Krysta Harden, President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “They’re the result of a lot of hard work by our industry to build demand for U.S. dairy products around the world and harness the opportunities that past trade deals – from U.S. free trade agreements to the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round – have made available.”