According to USDA officials, U.S. farm exports reached a record $136.3 billion last year, rising $20.5 billion over the previous record set in 2010.

Exports grew by both volume and value.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the exports show American agriculture remains a bright spot in the nation’s economy.

 “These figures indicate how demand for the American brand of agriculture continues to soar worldwide, supporting good jobs for Americans across a variety of industries such as transportation, renewable energy, manufacturing, food services and on-farm employment,” Vilsack said.

"During the past three years, the U.S. farm sector has continued to support and create jobs on a consistent basis, strengthening an American economy that's built to last. Every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 8,400 American jobs, meaning that U.S. farm exports helped support more than 1 million U.S. jobs in 2011." 

Grains were the biggest contributor to the overall record, reaching an all-time high of $37.7 billion, a $9.2 billion increase over 2010.

Cotton experienced the biggest year-to-year increase, up 44 percent from 2010, reaching a record $8.5 billion.

Dairy and pork exports also set records in 2011, reaching $4.8 billion and $6 billion respectively.

"Another success story is U.S. beef exports," said Vilsack.

"Last year, the United States exported an all-time high of $5.4 billion worth of beef and beef products, surpassing the previous record by more than $1.6 billion."

Vilsack credited American agriculture’s innovation and use of the latest technology for achieving a nearly unparalleled level of productivity.

To access the latest export data via the Global Agricultural Trade System, visit