TOPEKA — Growth in Kansas exports of soybean, corn and sorghum as well as the surge in radio navigational equipment sales combined to increase the value of goods shipped out of the country to $11.6 billion in 2019.
The Kansas Department of Commerce said exports expanded 0.2% over 2018 levels. Soft markets for Kansas’ fresh and frozen meat and to a lesser extent civilian aircraft and wheat hurt the bottom line.
“Seeing Kansas exports rise in the face of global headwinds like trade disputes, aviation difficulties and Brexit is heartening,” said David Toland, the state commerce secretary. “Kansans should be proud they are outperforming the national trend.”
Nationally, the United States experienced a 1.2% reduction in exports to $1.64 trillion.
Toland said the administration of Gov. Laura Kelly was committed to success in the global economy. Resurrection of the department’s international division and investment in programs helpful to exporters will have an impact, he said.
In Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma the average state export value last year was $9.3 billion. Percentage shift in exports among border states from 2018 to 2019: Oklahoma, up 0.2%; Colorado, down 2.7%; Nebraska, down 6.2%; Missouri, down 7.8%
The U.S. Census Bureau reported leading countries for Kansas exports following No. 1 Mexico were Canada, Japan, China, Germany, United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil and Taiwan.
In 2019, the top export from Kansas was civilian aircraft, engines and parts at $2.22 billion. That was down 1% from $2.25 billion the previous year.
Fresh meat exports from Kansas fell 5.6% to $872 million from $924 million in 2018, the Census reported. Likewise, frozen meat shipments declined 9% to $285 million from the prior year’s $313 million.
Wheat exports were cut to $567 million from $572 million, a fall of 0.9%. Soybeans surged 8.9% from $489 million to $533 million. Corn expanded from $195 million to $227 million, up 16%. Sorghum climbed 124% from $70 million to $158 million.
Another bright spot was navigational equipment exports that reached $240 million, a 75% climb from $137 million in 2018.
Census documents showed 2019 was the third consecutive year of overall growth in Kansas. Last year’s total followed marks of $11.5 billion in 2018, $11.2 billion in 2017 and $10.1 billion in 2016.