After 2009’s export weakness, USDA-ERS November 30, 2010, Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report estimated U.S. agricultural exports for FY 2010 at $108.7 billion, up $12.4 billion from $96.3 billion in 2009 and forecast a record $126.5 billion for FY 2011, up $13.5 billion from the August forecast and $17.8 billion above exports in 2010

If realized, exports in FY 2011 will exceed the 2008 record by more than $11.5 billion and provide an estimated record high ag trade surplus of about $41.0 billion. Agriculture continues to be one of the only major U.S. production sectors with a trade surplus.

Sharply higher prices for leading export commodities account for most of the forecast increase in value. Prices for most commodities are up as U.S. and global stocks tighten. Commodity prices surged in late summer as concern that global demand, especially from China, might exceed supplies. A severe drought, record high temperatures and extended wildfires in Russia and other near-by countries caused a severe shortage of wheat. Exports were suspended

While the estimated volume of exports forecast for FY 2011 is up 4.1 percent from the August 2010 estimate, the estimated value is up 12.0 percent. But, even at these higher unit values, the increase in exports indicates strong demand for U.S. food and agriculture products.

Increased exports are particularly important as the U.S. economy slowly recovers from the recession. Exports create jobs, especially in rural America. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack indicated in a November 30, 2010 statement that "each $1 billion in exports supports 8,000 jobs, meaning that agricultural exports alone in fiscal 2011 are expected to support more than 1 million U.S. jobs."