By :Bob Meyer
2013 was a record year for agricultural exports from Wisconsin. Ag Secretary Ben Brancel says the state sold more than $3.2 billion of agricultural products last year, a 9 percent increase in value compared to 2012.
Dairy products including eggs and honey topped the sales list at nearly $400 million. That is a 41 percent increase over 2013. 85 percent of the dairy products exported were cheese and whey. China purchased nearly a quarter of the total whey exports.
Miscellaneous food ingredients, including sauces, yeasts and mustards, were the second most valuable agricultural export product category in 2013. Wisconsin exported $315 million of these food ingredients last year, a 9 percent increase over 2012. The third most valuable agricultural export product category in 2013 was the beverages category, which is primarily ethanol. Cereal grains and baking-related goods were also significant agricultural exports for Wisconsin in 2013.
Wisconsin exported agricultural products to more than 150 countries. Canada, China, Mexico, Korea and Japan are the top-five customers. And while sales to each of those countries increased last year, sales to China jumped 63 percent.
Wisconsin ranks 13th in the nation among states for the value of agricultural exports. In addition to whey, Wisconsin also leads the nation in the exports of cranberries, sweet corn and ginseng roots.
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