USDA estimates that 25 percent of all U.S. agricultural production is exported, and for some commodities that percentage is even higher. Many of these trade benefits come on the back of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has helped to increase U.S. agricultural exports by more than 200 percent since 1993. It’s important to note that this data reflects U.S. Census Foreign Trade Division agricultural trade data, and may not be the point of origin for agricultural commodities.
When the trade in livestock is considered, the first commodities that come to mind are beef and pork. However, the ability to move live animals across borders is part of the larger meat and livestock supply chain in North America.
Live animal exports totaled $697 million during 2016, and the top two export markets were Canada and Mexico, each receiving approximately $129 million in live animal products. Combined, nearly 40 percent of live animal exports including horses, fowl, cattle, swine and live poultry were exported to our NAFTA partners.
The integrated North American market is dependent on the ability to transport live animals across borders. Figure 7 highlights the dependence on live animal exports by state. Click here to learn more about Michigan agriculture and NAFTA.