Skip to main content

Idaho ag export value set another record in 2022

By Sean Ellis

Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

POCATELLO – The total value of agricultural exports from Idaho increased by 11 percent in 2022, reaching a record $1.13 billion.

That eclipsed the 2021 total of $1.02 billion, which tied a record set in 2014.

“That’s two years in a row of record ag export growth for Idaho; that’s good news,” said Laura Johnson, who manages the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, which reported that data.

The totals are based on U.S. Census Bureau data that was crunched by ISDA. The Census Bureau data, which is available on a monthly basis, differs from a separate set of data released annually by USDA.

The USDA data does a better job of capturing all of Idaho’s agricultural exports but the Census Bureau data is more timely because it’s released each month.

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

According to the USDA data, Idaho set records for total value of ag product exports in 2020 and 2021. The USDA data for 2022 will be released this fall.

The Census Bureau data shows Idaho set records for that category in 2021 and 2022.

According to that data, Canada continues to be the top destination for Idaho ag exports, as Idaho businesses sold $362 million worth of ag products to that nation in 2022, a 12 percent increase over 2021.

Mexico was the state’s No. 2 ag export destination at $168 million, a 20 percent decrease compared with 2021, and China was the state’s No. 3 market at $122 million, a 59 percent increase over 2021.

South Korea came in at No. 4 ($81 million, 78 percent increase) and Japan was No. 5 ($61 million, 27 percent increase).

Dairy was Idaho’s top ag export commodity in 2022, as Idaho exported $308 million worth of dairy products last year, a 58 percent increase over 2021.

Live animal exports continued to be a bright spot, as Idaho exported $82 million worth of live animals in 2022, a 4 percent increase from 2021 and a 41 percent increase compared with 2020.

According to the Census Bureau data, Canada purchased $78 million worth of live animals – all cows – from Idaho last year, a 20 percent increase over 2021.

That made live animals Idaho’s top ag export to Canada in 2022.

“A lot of cows from Idaho are going to Canada,” Johnson said.

The increase in Idaho ag export value to both China and South Korea was led by dairy, as $60 million worth of dairy products from the Gem State were sold to China last year, a 50 percent increase over 2021, and $60 million worth of dairy products from Idaho were also sold to South Korea, a 75 percent increase.

Doug Robison, the Idaho president for AgWest Farm Credit, said Idaho’s 11 percent increase in ag export value in 2022 matched the total increase nationwide.  

However, he added, “While an 11 percent increase in agricultural exports is significant, there are some economic indicators that suggest export volumes actually decreased in 2022.”

That means a lot of the increase was due to higher commodity prices and not necessarily increases in ag export volumes

“Decreasing export volumes are not surprising, given the strength of the U.S. dollar in 2022,” Robison said.

He said the average value of the U.S. dollar in 2022 increased by 6.7 percent on a trade-weighted basis and by 8.5 percent when accounting for differences in purchasing power.

Johnson said Idaho’s ag export value gains were not all related to higher prices. “We are seeing some volume growth as well,” she said.

Johnson also said that the state’s 11 percent increase in ag export value occurred despite the ongoing supply chain challenges.

“Yes, that situation has improved but it’s still a challenge; it's still a constraint,” she said.