Illinois Jumps to Top Three Ag Exporting States

No. 1 soy-producing state moves ahead of Texas to join California and Iowa. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jul 12, 2005

U.S. agricultural exports reached a record $62.2 billion in fiscal 2004, boosted in part by a declining U.S. dollar. Illinois moved ahead of Texas to rank third among U.S. agricultural exporting States after California and Iowa, as fiscal 2004 U.S. agricultural exports continued to expand, according to USDA's latest agricultural trade update.

Modest economic recovery throughout the world boosted demand for U.S. agricultural products. Several factors, including a weaker U.S. dollar relative to currencies of OECD countries, contributed to the increased competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exports.

Soybeans and products remained the largest valued U.S. agricultural export at $9 billion. Demand from China and South Korea has grown steadily since 2003 while prices have fallen.

Due to the finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States, beef exports in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas fell to about a third of their 2003 levels. As a result, live animal and meat exports have dropped from the third largest export group to the sixth. In contrast, dairy exports rose 30% over 2003 levels. Hog prices have risen as a result of very strong export demand (as pork is substituted for beef), strong domestic demand for animal proteins, and relatively high domestic beef prices.

California remained the top exporting State in fiscal 2004, far surpassing all others; its $9.2 billion of agricultural exports is up almost 13%, or $1 billion, from 2003. California accounts for nearly 15% of the total value of all U.S. agricultural exports.

There was little difference in value of exports between Iowa and Illinois. Iowa, the second ranked U.S. exporting State, had total agricultural exports valued at $3.67 billion--an increase of $25 million (up less than 1% over 2003). Illinois was a close third, with 2004 agricultural exports valued at $3.65 billion--up $450 million, 15%, above 2003 levels.

Iowa led the nation’s exports of feed grains and products, and live animals and meats. Continued strength in the pork sector allowed the State to surpass Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas in meat exports. Iowa continues to dominate exports of corn. Illinois reclaimed its title as the lead soybean-exporting State, surpassing Iowa by $135 million as volume increased in 2004. Illinois accounted for 15% of the value of U.S. soybean exports.

Texas ranked close behind Illinois with 2004 agricultural exports valued at $3.63 billion--down $55 million from fiscal 2003. Restrictions on beef and cattle exports, due to concerns about BSE, were a major reason for the decline. Nevertheless, the State continued to dominate U.S. exports of cotton and cottonseed with values more than double those of the nearest State. Texas also led in exports of feeds and fodders, surpassing Kansas by $58 million.

Arkansas also replaced Indiana in the top 10 States in 2004. As in 2003, Nebraska and Kansas remained the fifth and sixth ranking agricultural exporting States. Minnesota, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Washington complete the list of top-10 ranking States.