Economic Tidbits

Nebraska 2020 Ag Exports Top $7.0 Billion

Nebraska exports of agricultural goods equaled $7.1 billion in 2020 and was the third highest on record according to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). As a result, Nebraska was the fifth-largest agriculture exporting state that year, up from sixth largest the prior year. This data and more were part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau report, Nebraska Agriculture and International Trade. The report provides data on the value of agricultural trade to Nebraska, estimates for the value of agricultural trade for each Nebraska county, as well as per-farm estimates for each county. The report, issued annually since 2017, acts as a barometer on the importance of trade to farmers, ranchers, and Nebraska’s economy. The estimates are calculated using USDA ERS’s 2020 trade numbers released in October 2021.

Nebraska topped the nation in exports of beef, was the second largest exporter of hides and skins, the third largest exporter of corn, feed, and processed grain products, and the fifth largest exporter of soybeans, soybean meal, and vegetable oil. Soybeans, corn, and beef were solidly entrenched as Nebraska’s top three export products (Figure 1). Soybeans were the largest exported commodity, exceeding $1.9 billion. Corn followed with exports valued at $1.85 billion, with beef exports at $1.67 billion. Soybean exports were 40 percent greater compared to 2019 and corn exports were up 24 percent. Chinese purchases were responsible for the increases for both commodities. On the other hand, beef exports were off 9 percent, largely due to COVID-19-related supply chain issues and processing shutdowns.

Figure 1. Nebraska Commodity Exports, 2000-2020

Source: NEFB graphic based on USDA ERS data

Platte County again held the top spot among counties with an estimated value of exports of $191 million. Custer, Cuming, Antelope, and Boone Counties rounded out the top five. In all, 18 counties had estimated export values exceeding $100 million, the most since Farm Bureau reports began. Counties least affected by international trade included Hooker, Thomas, and Loup counties with export values between $4.0-$6.5 million.

Figure 2. Estimate Total Agricultural Export Value by County-2020

Source: NEFB estimates

International trade remains a vital source of revenue for Nebraska producers. Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2020 Nebraska Agriculture and International Trade report breaks down international trade’s value to counties and producers. More information and the report can be found at

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