Learn about global trade and its importance during World Trade Month.

May is World Trade Month, which makes this the perfect time to consider the critical impact agricultural exports have on the U.S.

Agricultural trade plays a big role in both the nation’s farm sector and the American economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. exports of food and farm products totaled $138.4 billion in 2017 (up from $134.7 billion in 2016), and farm exports support more than 1.1 million American jobs across the entire economy.

Top Agricultural Exports by State

Notable state ag exports include Texas’ agricultural export trade to Canada and Mexico that totaled more than $3.3 billion and supported 18,674 jobs in 2016. Tennessee is another top state where exports of raw agricultural products add up to nearly $1 billion each year.

Florida is also a major player in ag trade across the globe. In 2015, Florida ranked seventh in the nation for agricultural exports, with more than $4 billion of agriculture commodities shipped outside the U.S. For example, Florida blueberries ship to Japan and Florida-grown grapefruits infuse restaurant beverages in South Korea. Bell peppers, orange juice, and other Fresh From Florida commodities cross the border into Canada, which is the state’s largest export market.

Virginia is another top ag exporter. The state exports agricultural products such as soybeans, chicken meat, wood products, unmanufactured leaf tobacco, a variety of grains, pork, animal feed, cotton, seafood, and raw peanuts, among others. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports that the top three export markets for Virginia in 2016 were China, Canada and Switzerland, all filling the same spots they have held since 2013.The same year, agriculture and forestry exports were valued at $2.77 billion – by volume. These exports accounted for more than half of containerized exports moving through the Port of Virginia.

Discover more about agricultural trade by reading about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impact on Florida growers, and find out how U.S. and Chinese tariffs may affect America’s farm economy.