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Washington's agriculture exports soar 38 percent in 2007

Washington's agriculture exporters had a banner year in 2007.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington exports topped $9.3 billion last year, a 38 percent increase from 2006.

The dramatic increase in exports, say state officials, is a result of the strong yields by Washington growers, high prices producers are getting for their commodities, the low dollar which make the state's products more attractive to international buyers, weather events in other parts of the world that have driven down production of similar commodities, and trade missions opening up new markets.

Washington state is the third largest exporter of U.S. food and agriculture products. Exports are critical to Washington's farmers and ranchers, say ag officials, because about one-third of Washington-grown products are shipped overseas.

"Export sales are increasingly important to the bottom line of Washington's farmers and ranchers," said Valoria Loveland, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

"No one in the world can compete against Washington growers on the quality of the product. We will continue to focus on reducing foreign barriers to our farm products and hosting foreign buyers looking for the best available products here in Washington," Loveland added.

In 2007, the value of agricultural products exported from Washington includes:

• Wheat $1.3 billion

• Apples, cherries and other fruit $783 million

• Fish and seafood $617 million

• Processed foods $559 million

• Dairy products $399 million

• Hay $294 million

• Vegetables $225 million

• Prepared meat/fish/etc. $215 million

• Meat $162 million

The dollar value of exports to seven of the eight leading destinations increased significantly. The leading destinations for these food and agricultural products (excluding soybeans and corn) were: Japan, $1.05 billion; Canada, $965 million; Mexico, $286 million; Philippines, $276 million; Taiwan, $268 million; Korea, $231 million; Indonesia, $222 million; and China, $206 million.

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