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Virginia Farming Exports Break Records

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Grains like corn rank as Virginia's number two export.
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Grains like corn rank as Virginia's number two export.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says the state's strongest economic driver — farming — is doing better than ever.

The governor announced that Virginia has reached a new all-time high of $2.61 billion in agricultural exports in 2012. That shatters the old record by 12 percent. And agricultural exports, which include forestry products, have also grown in value by roughly 17 percent since 2010.

"Very few sectors are growing like that in our Commonwealth," McDonnell says.

He says the export growth is the result of several trade missions over the last few years, including one to Asia.

"China: $638 million of [agricultural] exports in 2012. China is now far and away our largest trading partner," McDonnell says.

And soybeans are now the top export.

"Second largest export: wheat, corn, barley, and other grains," McDonnell says. "Third is pork and poultry. Smithfield Foods ought to be happy about that. Fourth: leaf tobacco."

McDonnell says Canada is now the state's second largest trading partner, with Morocco, Switzerland, and Turkey trailing at third, fourth, and fifth. He adds that his administration has also been strengthening relations with Saudi Arabia and Cuba.

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