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Minnesota outpaces nation in agricultural export growth

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Minnesota's agricultural export rate increased by more than 50 percent last year, according to figures recently released by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. From 2007 to 2008, the estimated value of Minnesota agricultural exports grew by 51 percent and outpaced the national export growth rate of 40 percent.

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Total U.S. agricultural exports for last year were valued at $115 billion.

Minnesota is the seventh largest agricultural exporting state in the United States. Minnesota farmers sold $5.5 billion in soybeans, corn, livestock, wheat, processed vegetables, dairy and other food to foreign markets last year, representing a 50 percent gain in five years.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson said Minnesota's agricultural and statewide economy is increasingly dependant on exports.

"Agriculture is the second largest exporting sector in Minnesota and a major contributor to the economic health of our state," said Hugoson. "Minnesota producers are ready to meet the growing foreign demand for food and feed and we will continue to work together to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones in export markets around the world."

Minnesota's top destinations for agricultural products are Mexico, Japan, China and Canada.

Minnesota has consistently had a higher annual average agricultural export rate than the national average. From 1990 to 2008, Minnesota's export rate grew by 8.3 percent. By comparison, the U.S. annual average agricultural export rate grew by 6.6 percent during that same period.

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