Governor Bob McDonnell has announced that in 2010, despite a worldwide recession and a statewide drought that impacted several key commodities, Virginia farm exports totaled $2.24 billion.

That is only slightly behind the record $2.3 billion for agricultural exports in 2009. Additionally, 2011 is already shaping up to be another very good year. Year-to-date numbers are up two percent over 2010 figures, which bodes well for the rest of the year. The announcement came as the 3rd Annual International Virginia Agricultural Trade Conference concluded in Norfolk.

Speaking about last year's export numbers, Governor McDonnell commented, "When you consider the worldwide recession, severe drought in areas of Virginia and political turmoil around the world, the 2010 figures are very promising. Virginia currently ranks ninth in the nation in agricultural export value. Agriculture and forestry are the top two industries in Virginia, and we must continue to strengthen and grow them to ensure our economic vitality.

“Agriculture exports mean good jobs for our citizens. As we continue to place a greater emphasis on the export of Virginia products around the world, our growers and producers — some of the best in the world — are geared up to increase their export business. We have an aggressive marketing agenda in 2011 and beyond to promote Virginia products globally, including trade missions to Asia, India and Israel, and additional Secretarial missions to the United Kingdom, Cuba and other places."

Much of the strength in Virginia's exports is its diversified portfolio of products and export markets. Top products this past year were soybeans, grains (wheat, corn, barley, animal feed), pork, poultry, leaf tobacco, wood products and logs, fats and oils, cotton, seafood and aquaculture products, fresh vegetables and hides and skins.

Virginia's Top 20 export markets are a mix of developed and emerging markets, including Canada in the No. 1 spot, China, Morocco, Belgium, Indonesia, Tunisia, Turkey, Venezuela, Russia, Ireland, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Jamaica.