USDA reports that U.S. 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 for many crops, including wheat.

Export sales of bulk commodities increased 19% to $47.2 billion, and consumer-oriented agricultural products increased by 15% to $45.4 billion. For the marketing year (MY) 2009-2010, U.S. wheat export sales totaled 22.7 million metric tons (mmt). According to USDA’s weekly Export Sales Report, exports of all classes of wheat for the current 2010-2011 MY, through Feb. 10, were 29.6 mmt, 55% higher than last year at this time.

Top markets for overall ag exports were China, with $17.5 billion in sales, and Canada, with $16.9 billion in sales. Nigeria and Japan imported the most U.S. wheat in 2009-2010, purchasing 3.5 mmt and 3.4 mmt, respectively. 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. More information on wheat exports and prices is available at http://www.uswheat.org/reports.