WASHINGTON – US farm exports in fiscal year 2011 reached a record high of $137.4 billion — exceeding past highs by $22.5 billion — and supported 1.15 million jobs in the US, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after USDA released its final tally for agricultural exports in fiscal year 2011.

“Furthermore, agriculture continues to bolster our nation's economy by contributing a trade surplus year after year,” he added. “This year, that surplus hit a record $42.7 billion. And next year looks equally strong for the US agricultural economy, thanks in part to President Obama signing new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will add an additional $2.3 billion to our export total and support nearly 20,000 American jobs.”

For the first fiscal year, China was the lead export market for US farm products, buying almost $20 billion of goods, such as soybeans, cotton, tree nuts and hides. Partnerships with growing markets like those in Vietnam and China are integral to the strength of the US economy in the decades ahead, Vilsack said.