By Justin Walker
Communications Specialist

The United States agricultural sector had high productivity in 2017, thanks in large part to export markets.

Last year saw the third largest export total ever at $140.5 billion.

“I’m proud of the role that Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has played,” said FAS Acting Administrator Holly Higgins, “especially since those exports generate 20 percent of U.S. farm income, stimulate rural economic activity and support more than a million American jobs.”

China finished the fiscal year as the U.S.’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion.

Canada was the second largest export customer at $20.4 billion, and agricultural exports to Mexico reached $17.6 billion, which is a six percent gain from last year.

Exports to Japan grew by 12 percent to $11.8 billion.

Other countries in the top 10 markets were the European Union, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“FAS staff around the globe have worked tirelessly with their counterparts across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), finding, opening and expanding markets for the high-quality food, fuel, feed and fiber that our farmers and ranchers produce,” Higgins said in a statement. “We’ve done so by focusing on what we call our ‘three pillars’—trade policy, trade promotion and trade capacity building and food security.”

FAS organized international trade trips to Egypt, Brazil and India that resulted in more than $30 million in projected 12-month sales for the U.S. companies that participated.

The agency, through its food assistance programs, also helped send more than 270,000 tons of U.S. commodities to help meet nutritional needs and support agricultural development for nearly 5 million beneficiaries in 25 food-insecure countries.

“FAS staff members in Washington and 93 worldwide offices are redoubling their commitment to opening and expanding export markets and breaking down trade barriers for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses,” Higgins said. “We’re proud to be part of the USDA team that, in Secretary Perdue’s words, is working to ‘do right and feed everyone.’”

More information about FAS can be found here.

Complete FY 2017 agricultural export data are available here.