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Idaho dairy farmers produce more milk and cheese than almost any state in the nation. Idaho is ranked third behind California and Wisconsin.

Idaho Agricultural Exports Fell 22 Percent Last Year

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Adam Cotterell
/
Boise State Public Radio

Agricultural exports, a major segment of Idaho’s economy, took a 22 percent drop last year. That’s a decline of more than $200 million. Domestic ag sales were down in 2015 as well, as were the state’s non-ag exports, but neither saw as steep a drop as agricultural exports.

Roughly a quarter of Idaho ag products go overseas. And the going over the sea part was some of the problem according to Laura Johnson, market development manager at Idaho’s Department of Agriculture. Issues at west coast ports hurt sales to Asia.

A strong U.S. dollar was another factor. Falling commodity prices was another. And when it comes to exports, business is global. Take dairy products. They’re one of Idaho’s biggest exports and last year Mexico was the biggest importer. But Johnson says Russia banned dairy from America and Europe. And Europe had been ramping up production.

“So they have to find another home for a lot of their cheeses and whey proteins and milk powder,” Johnson says. “So we’re facing increased competition in Mexico because of what Russia’s done.”

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio

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