Idaho ahead of last year’s record pace for ag export value
By Sean Ellis
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
POCATELLO – Through the first half of 2023, Idaho is on pace to set a record for total agricultural export value for the third straight year.
Idaho businesses exported $603 million worth of agricultural products to other countries during the first six months of 2023, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau data.
That was 10 percent more than the $548 million worth of ag products exported from Idaho during the same period in 2022, which was a record year for the state for ag export value.
In 2022, a record $1.13 billion worth of ag products were exported from Idaho, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Last year’s record eclipsed the 2021 total of $1.02 billion, which tied a record set in 2014.
“With more than a 10 percent gain, overall (ag) exports from Idaho are outpacing U.S. ag exports, which were down more than 7 percent through the first half of 2023,” said Doug Robison, the Idaho president of AgWest Farm Credit.
He said Idaho ag export value increased during the first half of the year despite some modest declines in larger export categories that included dairy and potatoes.
Idaho exports of “malt barley appear to be rebounding in 2023 after a reduction in exports during the prior year,” Robison said. “Idaho’s livestock exports are also up substantially through the first half of the year.”
Live animal exports from Idaho continue to soar.
The U.S. Census Bureau data show that the total value of live animal exports from Idaho hit $39 million during the first six months of 2023, 22 percent higher than the previous year.
Most of those live animal exports were cows sold to Canada.
Over the past three years, the total value of live animal exports from Idaho has risen from $58 million in 2020 to $78 million in 2021 to $82 million in 2022.
That Idaho’s total ag export value was up 10 percent over last year’s record pace despite a slight dip in Idaho dairy export value is noteworthy since dairy typically accounts for a large portion of the state’s total ag export value.
According to the Census Bureau data, $139 million worth of ag products listed under the “dairy products” category were exported from Idaho during the first half of 2023. That was down slightly from $142 million during the same period in 2022.
According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, total U.S. export volume of dairy products during the first half of 2023 fell 5 percent and total value declined 10 percent compared with the same period in 2022.
Ag export value to Idaho’s top five foreign ag export markets all increased during the first half.
Idaho exported $193 million worth of ag products to Canada during the first half of the year, up 6 percent over 2022, and Canada remained the No. 1 destination for Idaho ag exports.
A total of $34 million worth of live animals from Idaho were exported to Canada, making that the state’s main ag export to that nation during the first half. Butter was second at $17 million.
Idaho ag exports to Mexico during the first half increased by 57 percent, to $115 million, and the state’s ag exports to China increased by 7 percent, to $55 million.
Malt was the state’s top ag export to Mexico during the first half ($36 million), followed by prepared vegetables ($33 million, mostly frozen potato products), dairy ($13 million) and oilseeds ($12 million).
Dairy ($20 million) and oilseeds ($18 million) were Idaho’s main ag exports to China during the first half of 2023.
Idaho ag export value to South Korea totaled $39 million during the first half of the year, a 38 percent increase over the previous year, and Idaho ag exports to Japan totaled $37 million, a 17 percent increase.
The Census Bureau data, which is available on a monthly basis, differs from a separate set of data released annually by USDA.
The Census Bureau data doesn’t capture all of Idaho’s farm product exports because it is based on what state a commodity is exported from. For example, it doesn’t capture the wheat from Idaho that is exported out of Portland.
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 ($2.34 billion) and 2021 ($2.55 billion). The USDA data for 2022 will be released this fall.
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