Gov. Jim Doyle announced that Wisconsin's agricultural exports increased by 13% during the first six months of 2008, reaching a record $975 million. Doyle made the announcement last week during the 2008 Midwest U.S. - Japan Conference in Milwaukee.
"Agriculture is one of the cornerstones of our economy and today consumers around the world view Wisconsin as a source for food and livestock," Governor Doyle said. "In Wisconsin, we are aggressively positioning ourselves to take advantage of this growing demand through technological upgrades and new products."
Other export highlights include:
Dairy exports grew by 59%, up from $76 million in the first half of 2007 to $121 million in the first six months of 2008. Exports were driven by a healthy demand for cheese, whey and butter. Wisconsin cheese exports set a record value of $48.7 million for the first six months of 2008, a 48% increase. Nationally, cheese exports set a record value of $304 million for the first six months of 2008.
The state's world-class dairy genetic exports grew 35 percent, to $31 million in the first half of 2008, driven by demand from Mexico, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Dried distillers grains and solubles (DDGS) continue to experience wide international acceptance as a livestock feed. DDGS exports grew 169% compared to the first six months of 2007. Export sales totaled $17 million for the first six months of the year.
The state's agricultural exports were driven by growing consumer demand in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Korea for dairy products, baking and brewing ingredients, foods and food preparations, beverages and hides. Mexico was the key market for the export of dairy genetics and live dairy cattle. Wisconsin ranks first for the export of dairy cattle, semen and embryos.
Agricultural exports help the state and nation's trade balance, enable Wisconsin farmers and food and agriculture businesses to grow, and create jobs for Wisconsin citizens. Wisconsin agricultural exports account for about 20 percent of Wisconsin farm income. Agriculture generates $51 billion for the state annually and close to half a million jobs.
The Governor made the announcement at the 2008 Midwest U.S. - Japan Conference in Milwaukee where national and international leaders are discussing the role of technology in the international economy as well as trade and investment opportunities. With the world's second largest economy, Japan is an important partner for Wisconsin and is the state's third highest export destination.
"The Midwest U.S. - Japan Conference has always been a significant gathering of executives from Japanese and Midwest firms and strengthening these relationships is vital to the growth of Wisconsin business," Governor Doyle said. "I am confident this opportunity will allow us to continue creating jobs and growing our state's economy."
The 2008 Midwest U.S. - Japan Conference in Milwaukee marks the 40th anniversary of the annual conference whose meetings alternate between Japan and the Midwest member states. The annual conference brings together international business leaders from Japan and the U.S. and serves as the principal forum for bilateral trade and investment discussion between the Midwest and Japan.
The Midwest U.S. – Japan Association is a ten-state member organization formed in 1967 to facilitate business development between the Midwest region of the U.S. and Japan, and create a link for economic, political and cultural relations. Member states include: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. The sister organization in Japan, the Japan-Midwest U.S. Association, is comprised of leading Japanese corporations.
Among the conference attendees are: Hon. James R. Thompson, U.S. Conference Chairman and Former Governor of Illinois, Yuzaburo Mogi, Japan Conference Chairman and Chairman and CEO, Kikkoman Corporation, Hon. George Hisaeda, Consul General of Japan at Chicago, Gov. Mitch Daniels, State of Indiana, Gov. Akiko Domoto, Chiba Prefecture, Gov. Dave Heineman, State of Nebraska, Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda, Saitama Prefecture, Gov. Ted Strickland, State of Ohio, Michael Beeman, Deputy Assistant for Japan, U.S. Trade Representative, and Hon. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States.