Minnesota’s export and trade statistics are in for 2017. The numbers demonstrate an 8% growth in exports, which outpaces the national average, and $21 billion in total exports.
Among a number of strong sectors, our state remains a food and agriculture production powerhouse, with meat exports up a whopping 12% for a total $372 million. Nationally, we rank 5th in crop and total agricultural production, and 8th in livestock. Agricultural production and processing is responsible for 147,000 Minnesota jobs and we have over 73,000 farms. We also manufacture the tools and machinery needed for production and processing, and are on the forefront of innovation and research that furthers food safety and food production. In fact, Minnesota leads the nation in food patents per capita.
We are home to six of the 30 world’s largest food and agriculture companies, and we are a destination for food entrepreneurs. Our success in the food sector is thanks to who we are and what we offer. As a region, we boast talent, research, corporate infrastructure, and an innovative food culture. We dominate the food cycle by providing 55% of food sector supply chain services. Thanks to our region’s diverse service offerings, companies find the infrastructure and support they need here, from commercial banking to world-renowned creative services. As a result, we draw businesses and brands looking to grow.
Small companies that come to Minnesota can count on strong institutional support as they work to develop products. Start-up accelerator Techstars recognized this innovation-friendly culture by selecting Minneapolis-St. Paul as the base for its Farm to Fork Accelerator. The program, with the support of Cargill and Ecolab, is focused on funding the tech/digital side of the food/agriculture supply chain. Food and agriculture entrepreneurs look to Grow North, a resource and connection hub, to drive connections digitally and through networking and educational events.
Our thriving food industry means there’s a place at the table for companies of every size - and an opportunity for every community to support the industry.