RALEIGH - North Carolina is now the ninth-largest state in terms of agricultural export value, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. North Carolina previously ranked 12th on the list. North Dakota was bumped out of the top 10.
USDA estimates the value of North Carolina's exports at more than $2 billion. Overall, the U.S. agricultural exports reached a record $68.7 billion in fiscal 2006, up $6.2 billion from the previous record in 2005.
"I am proud that we have had success in our global marketing strategy," said Agriculture Commissioner Stever Troxler. "Our international marketing specialists have been working hard to find new markets for our farmers, and their efforts are paying off."
North Carolina is the leading tobacco-exporting state, accounting for 38 percent of U.S. exports and ranks third in poultry exports, behind Arkansas and Georgia. The Tar Heel state is also the fifth-largest exporter of peanuts, sixth-largest exporter of live animals and meat products and the seventh-largest exporter of cottonseed and products.
International marketing specialists for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have been working with commodity groups across the state to increase opportunities for farmers. Marketing specialists work throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas to open up new markets. For example, through a cooperative effort with the N.C. SweetPotato Commission, marketing specialists have found a rapidly growing market for sweet potatoes in Europe. Asia has proven to be a strong market for cotton seed, poultry and other commodities. Marketing specialists are using federal funding to develop new opportunities in the Middle East, the Caribbean and across the Americas with commodities such as eggs, pork, peanuts and forestry products, plus other value-added items.
The full USDA report can be found at www.ers.usda.gov/Data/StateExports/.