Global Markets for Minnesota Agriculture

Just because food is grown in a country doesn’t mean it stays there. Minnesota exports (sells) one-third of our agriculture products! We import (buy) from other countries too, so world agriculture is important for us here in Minnesota. Why do countries buy and sell ag products from one another?

  • Some places have little suitable land to grow food. They may have poor climates, or be on islands, mountains, or deserts. Much of the land may be covered with cities. With limited land and water, they can’t grow enough food to feed the people. These places must import.
  • Most people enjoy eating foods that don’t grow in their area. Did you have a banana or cinnamon toast for breakfast? Did someone drink cocoa, coffee, or tea? Importing made it possible; these things don’t grow here. We use products from other countries, and they use products from us. Food exports and imports bring variety and flavor to our meals.
  • The demand for our exports is increasing. In countries where family income is rising, people who can afford more variety welcome our exports (especially meat). Many countries buy our raw commodities for ingredients in their own food. Imported soybeans for tofu or corn for tortillas are examples. We’re not just feeding people, either. Countries growing more livestock need feed (corn, soybeans, etc.) for their animals. In countries where populations are growing rapidly, people need more of everything.

Minnesota agriculture helps keep our state’s economy strong! Our top four exports are soybeans, corn, pork, and livestock feed. China is our largest export customer.