The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported farm exports reached an all-time high in 2010, showing again that agriculture is one bright spot in an otherwise middling economy. Ag exports were worth $115.8 billion in 2010, surpassing the previous high export record of $114.8 billion set in 2008, a year of high prices and short supplies due to weather and other issues.

Export sales of bulk commodities increased 19 percent to $47.2 billion, and consumer-oriented agricultural products increased by 15 percent to $45.4 billion.

Top markets for overall ag exports were China, with $17.5 billion in sales, and Canada, with $16.9 billion in sales. Pork exports rang up sales of $4.78 billion, falling just 2 percent short of the 2008 high and better than 2009 by more than 10 percent, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

USDA says that every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 8,000 American jobs, which means agricultural exports supported nearly 1 million jobs in 2010.

The latest export data is available via the Global Agricultural Trade System at http://www.fas.usda.gov/data.asp.

Source: National Association of Wheat Growers, USMEF