Agricultural trade reached new highs during 2011, with growth in exports and imports according to the most current data from USDA.

The agency’s Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States monthly summary shows the value of agricultural exports reached $137.4 billion for fiscal year 2011. The fiscal year ran from October 1, 2010 through September 2011. That figure compares with $108.6 billion for fiscal year 2010 and $96.3 billion for fiscal year 2009.

U.S. agricultural imports also grew during 2011, but not at the same rate as exports. The report shows imports valued at $94.5 billion for fiscal year 2011, compared with $79 for fiscal year 2010 and $73.4 for fiscal year 2009.

The agricultural trade balance – export values minus import values – was a positive $42.9 billion for fiscal year 2011, compared with $29.6 billion for 2010 and $22.9 for 2009.

During October and November of 2011 – the first two months of the current fiscal year – agricultural exports declined slightly compared with those during the same period a year earlier. Imports meanwhile picked up somewhat, resulting in a thinner trade surplus. The report shows exports during the first two months of fiscal year 2012 at $24.6 billion, compared with $24.9 billion for the same two months during fiscal year 2011.

Agricultural imports during those first two months of the fiscal year reached a value of $17.1 billion compared with $13.7 billion during the same period a year earlier. This resulted in a reduction in the trade surplus from $13.6 billion during October and November of 2010 to $7.5 billion for the same months in 2011.

The full report is available online from the USDA/ERS.