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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Agricultural Exports Add Significant Value to Ohio Farmers’ Revenue

September 27, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Amid a visit to Ohio by a Taiwan soybean and corn delegation to sign letters of intent to purchase corn and soybeans, Ohio State University agricultural economist Ian Sheldon said the export of agricultural products adds significantly to farm revenues.

“Look at Ohio itself, we exported over $2.5 billion of agricultural products in fiscal year 2010,” Sheldon said, citing data from the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “If you look at the data, exports are quite an important part of Ohio farmers’ revenues, particularly for soybeans, feedgrains, and to a lesser extent wheat and wheat products.”

Sheldon, the Andersons Professor of International Trade in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, received the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Presidential Recognition Award for Special Service earlier this year for outstanding leadership as inaugural editor of the AAEA journal Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, his appointment at the University also includes research on international trade for both OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. He said exports add significant value to farm receipts in Ohio.

“Looking at overall farm receipts in the state, if we do the math our total export value is about a third of our total income,” he said. “We export a pretty large proportion of our soybeans. Over half of the value of farm receipts from soybeans and soy products produced in the state come from exports.”

He said according to data from USDA, Ohio is the 6th largest state exporter in terms of value of soybeans and soybean value in the country, and the 9th largest state exporter of feedgrains.

Sheldon said our largest trading partners include our neighbors to the North and South, as well as significant regions of the European Union and Southeast Asia.

“The big players are Canada, Mexico and to a lesser extent Japan and Germany,” he said. “Interestingly, for Ohio’s total agricultural exports, China only comes out as our 8th largest export destination according to 2010 data, and my guess is that is pretty much dominated by soy products and feedgrains.”

He said while it may appear China is not that important to Ohio’s export value, if you focus on the biggest agricultural products the state exports, China is probably a much more important player.

U.S. Department of Commerce data are not available on a state by state basis to distinguish the value of exports of specific crops or products to specific countries.

Relative to last week’s visit by the Taiwan corn and soybean delegation as part of the Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission, Sheldon said the country is a significant purchaser of Ohio farm products.

“Taiwan is actually the 5th largest destination for agricultural products from Ohio. We may be exporting more high value products to Taiwan; you can’t distinguish in the ERS data. Taiwan has long been a political and trading partner of the U.S.”


Andy Vance
Ian Sheldon