Export data show that Idaho food and agriculture exports for the first six months of the year were up 15 percent over 2011, which was a record-setting year, according to the state Department of Agriculture. Total exports from Idaho through June were $2.7 billion.
"Idaho's hard-working farmers, ranchers and food processors dedicate their lives to producing some of the finest products to meet the needs of a global marketplace," said Celia Gould, director of the department.
The rise is due in part to a favorable exchange rate, trade agreements that cut tariffs and lower export barriers, growing consumer demand and strong commodity prices. The state agriculture department also has a program to help agribusiness expand international sales.
The department estimates that more than 25 percent of Idaho's agriculture products are exported to foreign markets. The top export is dairy, which rose 10 percent over the first six months of 2011. That includes dry whey and whey proteins, dry milk products, cheese, lactose, butter and ingredients such as ice cream mixes and cheese powders.
The top export markets were Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea. Exports to South Korea nearly doubled in the first half of this year, and exports to China rose 73 percent. Exports to Canada were up 14 percent, exports to Mexico were up 32 percent and exports to Japan were down 12 percent.