The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a forecast of $126.5 billion in farm exports for 2011.

This number exceeds the current record for a fiscal year (2008 brought in $114.9 billion) and tops the 2010 number by $17.8 billion. "Today’s forecast demonstrates that the demand for U.S. food and agriculture around the world is stronger than ever," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Sales are surging in China, Southeast Asia, North America and the Middle East. In fact, today’s forecast sees China pulling within $500 million of Canada, the United States’ top export market in fiscal year 2011."

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According to Vilsack, agriculture is one of the only major sectors in the U.S. economy with a trade surplus—an estimated $41 billion in fiscal year 2010.