By Chad Frey

Newton Kansan

Kansas businesses exported more than $12.45 billion worth of goods in 2013, a 6.46 percent increase over 2012, according to data released today by the Kansas Department of Commerce.

It is good news — news felt in Harvey County.

"We are part of that," said Mickey Fornaro Dean, director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council. "We have some large companies in our county that are exporters, and small companies that are exporters. The state exporter of the year for last year was from our county. … Exporting is only a positive for our county. It creates jobs when we are growing exports. … It is very positive for us."

The transportation sector has shrunk since 2008 — from $7.7 billion to $2.2 billion — however other sectors have made up the difference.

Agricultural exporters have been a big part of the surging export market.

The state’s farmers and agribusinesses exported $2.6 billion in goods in 2013, 20 percent of all of the state’s exports.

Those numbers jump off the page for Karyn Page, president and CEO Kansas Global Trade Services in Wichita.

"When we look at overall performance, that doesn't tell the whole story. We really want to know what is going on underneath," Page said. "We want to call attention to the good things going on."

According to the report, exports have grown by more than 25 percent during the last three years, and in 2013, the state nearly matched its pre-recession record achieved in 2008.

"Kansas businesses continued to build off of the strong growth of the past few years in 2013, and were tremendously successful in international markets," said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. "The global economy is fiercely competitive, so the many successful Kansas exporters should be commended for their hard work. We will continue to work with them to make our state the best possible place to build a thriving business."

The top 10 industry sectors were up from 2012 by 12.46 percent. The largest gains occurred in cereals (64.5 percent); oil seeds, grain, seed, fruit and plants (36.3 percent); meat and edible offal (27.6 percent); and electric machinery (23.4 percent). The top 10 industries accounted for 77.4 percent of the state’s exports.

Canada, China, Mexico and Japan were again the state’s top four export markets. Exports to China increased by 46.24 percent, and have grown by nearly $1 billion since 2011. China has moved from the fifth largest export market for Kansas in 2010 to second place in 2013.