It may not be the final word on where Oregon ag commodities are exported, but phytosanitary certificates written by Oregon Department of Agriculture inspectors provide insight into the top export markets for the state's producers.
Data from the 2012 certificates shows Asia as the major destination for Oregon ag commodities, but Mexico and Canada post high marks for key export markets as well.
"We don't look at everything that is exported from Oregon and not everything requires a phyltosanitary certificate, but we do inspect nearly all of the fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and many other agricultural commodities such as Christmas trees, nursery stock and
"These statistics are consistent with what we see from other available export numbers."
ODA inspectors examine a variety of field crops before issuing phytosanitary certificates that assure the commodity is free of pests and diseases. Without the documents with ODA's stamp of approval, there is no guarantee the commodity meets buyer standards.
The importance of timely inspection and certification is more critical for perishable fruits and vegetables.
"When you look at the amount of product that leaves Oregon destined for international markets and the fact that much of it has to travel with that certificate, it's easy to see that ODA's role is critical in helping Oregon agriculture be successful," notes Cramer.
About 40% of Oregon's ag product is exported. According to USDA's Economic Research Service, total annual exports for Oregon agricultural commodities the past three years has averaged about $1.6 billion.
In 2012, ODA inspectors – ranging from those working at various shipping point district offices to Christmas tree inspectors – issued phytosanitary certificates enabling more than 2.3 billion pounds of fresh produce to be shipped out of the U.S.