By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just released its 2015 Agriculture trade forecasts. Fiscal 2015 agricultural exports are forecast at $143.5 billion, $9 billion below fiscal 2014 and down $1 billion from the August forecast for fiscal 2015, according to the latest electronic Outlook Report from the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service.


U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record $116 billion, down $1 billion from August, but $6.8 billion higher than in fiscal 2014. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is forecast at $27.5 billion, down from $43.3 billion in fiscal 2014, and the smallest surplus since fiscal 2009.

Even despite our trade surplus forecast number being down, we can still claim that U.S. agriculture continues to be a net exporter, unlike other industries that must deal with a trade deficit.

So, Curious how Arizona contributes to our trade?

In 2012 (the most recent USDA numbers covering cash receipts for agriculture products exported) Arizona exported $1.2 billion in agriculture product. According to those 2012 figures, Arizona agriculture is ranked 32nd among all states in exported agriculture product.

Of the major agriculture products exported, Arizona ranks in the following key agriculture products. The USDA also highlights chicken as another leading export product, however, our state does not commercially produce chicken, including for export.

Ranked                Product                                             Million(s)

17th                       Beef                                     $69.2

24th                       Pork                                     $7

17th                       Hides                                   $34.9

13th                       Dairy                                    $109.5

5th                         Veggies                               $229.6

What do we export?

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Hides & Skins
  • Dairy Products
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Tree nuts (Pistachios and Pecans)
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Grain Products
  • Feeds & Fodder
  • Vegetables oils
  • Cotton
  • Planting Seeds
  • *Other

*USDA: (Can include other animal & poultry products, other grains and oilseeds, wine, beer, other beverages, coffee, chocolate, other horticulture products and prepared foods)

Our Top 4 Products Exported from Arizona, 2012

Despite the fact that year after year, Arizona agriculture has reduced the number of acres in cotton production, cotton remains the leading agriculture product this state exports. The main reason is nearly all of our cotton is exported.

Arizona Agriculture's top 4 exports. Data is from the USDA, 2012 figures are the most recent that are available.

“We have an amazing cotton industry in Arizona,” says Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers who grows cotton in Maricopa County. “We’re recognized, along with California, as having some of the best quality and highest yielding cotton in the country. So, it’s no surprise to me that cotton ranks at the top in our agriculture exports from this state and that it represents a global demand for such a high quality and versatile fiber.”

It’s one of the reasons that cotton is a crop worthy of such recognition as being identified in our state as one of the 5 “Cs” of Arizona. In total value to the state beyond export value, the cotton industry generates more than $500 million to our state.

"All this adds up to the $17.1 billion annual return to the state," adds Rogers.

Product                              Million (s)

  • Cotton                 $273.3 (40%)
  • Vegetables           $229.6 (34%) (Both fresh & processed vegetable)
  • Dairy                     $109.5 (16%)
  • Beef                      $69.2   (10%)