Wisconsin agricultural exports grow 5% in first half of 2012

Amid a summer drought that threatens farm incomes across the state, the state’s agricultural industry received some good news this week as the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reported that Wisconsin agricultural exports grew 5% in the first half of 2012.

Wisconsin exported $1.5 billion worth of agricultural products to over 132 countries in the first six months of the year, the agency said. The state outpaced overall U.S. agricultural exports, which totaled $77 billion, a decrease of 4% over the first half of 2011.

According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin’s total exports grew by 7.9% in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 2011, with increases in exports of industrial machinery, agricultural products, vehicles, and medical and scientific instruments.

In addition, Wisconsin’s overall exports totaled $11.6 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Industrial machinery exports, the top product Wisconsin exports, increased 13%, driven heavily by exports of parts for ship derricks, mobile lifting cranes, and trucks with cranes.

“The production of Wisconsin’s economy is strong, which is exhibited through the growth of exports,” stated Gov. Scott Walker. “This data is encouraging and signals products made by Wisconsin’s private sector economy are valued all across the world.”