TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas exported $5.35 billion worth of agricultural goods. The state reported this is the first time Kansas agriculture exports “exceeded $5.0 billion in at least a decade.” The numbers also showed that agriculture exports rose by more than 32% from 2020 to 2021, but some farmers and ranchers are urging caution and even say the numbers come with an asterisk (*).

“It’s making a huge difference on our bottom lines,” said Keith Miller, a farmer and rancher from Barton County. “The more we can help other people feed their hungry people, the better off this world will be.”

The state reported that meat was our state’s top export, which made up $2.06 billion, or 54.07% of all agriculture exports. Mexico, Japan and China were the state’s top customers when it comes to agriculture exports.

“That’s money in the pockets of producers, and it means a great deal to them,” said Scarlett Hagins, Kansas Livestock Association. “We essentially wouldn’t have that $500 per head that goes into the price and return on investment to producers.”

However, the farmers and ranchers said even though agriculture exports are surpassing the $5 billion mark, you have to take into consideration the rising input costs.

“The price of grains, the price of inputs that we have to put in for fertilizer and chemicals has went up 300-400% over a year ago,” said Miller. “We have to have these extremely high prices in order to break even now, and that makes it really tough for those of us in production, agriculture to be able to turn a profit.”

Miller points to lingering supply chain issues, rising inflation, and the war in Ukraine as deciding factors to those higher than usual input costs. That’s because Russia is one of the world’s biggest exporters in fertilizer, which is also affecting the world market.

“With the war going on overseas, that has really changed how much of that is available,” said Miller. “We used to be buying a lot of fertilizer from over there, it was exported over here to the U.S., but now we can’t get that.”

“Every dollar always counts, but every dollar really counts right now, so yes, while it’s good news, there is a little bit of an asterisk by that because there is a lot more money going into producing those cattle, because of the inflation on feed, fuel and fertilizer costs,” said Hagins.