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Idaho Ag Export Value Continues on Record Pace

By Sean Ellis

The total value of Idaho agricultural exports rose 10 percent during the first quarter of the year, while U.S. export value declined 4 percent.

“Idaho’s agricultural exports were very strong against a backdrop of weaker commodity prices and a relatively strong U.S. dollar,” said Doug Robison, the Idaho president for AgWest Farm Credit.

“Idaho's export growth was led by potatoes and livestock, offsetting weakness in dairy products,” he added.

Idaho has set records for total ag export value for three straight years, and through the first three months of this year, the state is on track to set another one.

Idaho companies sold $359 million worth of agricultural products in other countries during the first quarter of 2024, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released in early May. That’s 10 percent more than the same three-month period in 2023.

A record $1.18 billion worth of Idaho agricultural products were exported to other countries in 2023. That represented three straight years of record export value from Idaho, according to the Census Bureau data.

That data shows Idaho is on a different trajectory than the U.S. as a whole when it comes to ag export value. That’s good news considering about half of all ag commodities produced in Idaho are exported to other countries.

The Census Bureau numbers show that total U.S. ag export value of $191 million in 2023 was down 10 percent from the record total recorded in 2022.

A separate set of data released annually by USDA in the fall shows Idaho set ag export value records in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The USDA data for 2023 will be released in early November.

The Census Bureau data is based on what state a commodity is exported from, so it doesn’t capture all of Idaho farm product exports. For example, it wouldn’t capture the wheat from Idaho that is exported out of Portland.

The USDA data, which shows Idaho sold $2.89 billion worth of ag products in 2022, captures more of the state’s farm exports but is not as timely as the Census Bureau data, which is released monthly.

However, both sets of data track closely when it comes to percentage increases and decreases.

The recent Census Bureau data shows that Canada remained the top destination for Idaho ag exports, as $115 million worth of Idaho ag products were sold in that country from January through March. That represents a 17 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023.

A total of $75 million worth of Idaho ag products were sold in Mexico during the first quarter, a 22 percent increase, and $27 million worth of Idaho ag products were sold in China, a 6 percent increase.

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