A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farming is one of the bright spots in the country's economic comeback, particularly in rural America.
Farm income grew 27 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2011, according to the report, and farm exports reached a record $137 billion last year.
The agricultural sector has recovered more quickly than the rest of the economy from the "irresponsible financial collapse and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," the report says.
While clearly an election-year political document -- it repeatedly credits the Obama administration with agricultural gains -- the report points out impressive performances by American farmers.
Ag exports accounted for 11 percent of America's total exports in 2011 and provided a $42 billion trade surplus as U.S. wheat, corn, beef and multiple other products were shipped overseas. Farm exports supported more than 900,000 farming, manufacturing and transportation jobs, according to the report.
Oregon farm sales mirrored the national rebound, grossing a record $5.2 billion in 2011 and posting the biggest percentage increase -- 19 percent -- in more than 30 years. The figure is inflated a bit over previous years because commercial fishing sales, $91 million, were included for the first time, but sales increased 17 percent even without fishing and set a record by either accounting.
Cattle, dairy products, wheat and hay were the state's most valuable farm products. About 80 percent of what Oregon produces leaves the state, and half of that is exported.
Free trade agreements signed in the past few years with South Korea, Panama and Colombia are projected to eventually increase agricultural exports by another $2.3 billion annually, the report says. Oregon farmers are excited about Korea allowing shipment of fresh blueberries for the first time, which will happen this season.
Taking advantage of such growth will require continued investment in rual economies, support for research and technology, and advancement of alternative energy sources, the report concludes.
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women