Inspection records indicate ND ag exports up

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says a large increase in the documentation required for agricultural exports indicates North Dakota is selling more commodities overseas.

“During the recently-ended fiscal year, North Dakota Department of Agriculture issued more than 2,500 phytosanitary certificates,” Goehring said. “That is 30 percent more than the previous year's total of 1,974 certificates.”

Goehring explained that phytosanitary certificates track the inspection of agricultural commodities and certify compliance with the plant health standards of importing countries.

“Many of our leading overseas plant protection agencies require these certificates to ensure that the commodities they are buying are free of pests,” Goehring said. “The United States also demands phytosanitary certificates for many agricultural imports.”

The 2012 certificates indicate that North Dakota's leading customers include Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, India, Thailand, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Italy and Spain. Some important customers, such as Japan, do not require phytosanitary certificates.

“The reports also indicate the tremendous importance of pulse crops in North Dakota's export portfolio,” Goehring said. “In terms of tonnage, lentils, peas and dry edible beans easily led the state's commodity exports.”

North Dakota's top exported commodities, based on certified totals, from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, include:

Dry edible beans 165,865,251 pounds
Peas 104,010,506 pounds
Lentils   43,997,519 pounds
Durum wheat   61,168,306 pounds
Wheat   29,186,300 pounds
Soybeans   27,938,012 pounds
Barley   15,733,610 pounds
Seed potatoes     9,480,928 pounds
Sunflowers     4,782,218 pounds
Chickpeas     2,211,190 pounds
Flax     2,170,008 pounds

Four North Dakota Department of Agriculture inspectors are trained and qualified by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA-APHIS) to conduct phytosanitary inspections and issue certificates. APHIS also issues phytosanitary certificates for North Dakota commodities.

Goehring said exporters who want more information about the phytosanitary process should contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) at (701) 328-2231 or (800) 242-7535 or

“The staff in both the Plant Industries Division and Marketing Division can help you conduct the necessary market research to determine if your export products require a phytosanitary or other certificate,” he said. “NDDA can issue a variety of certificates to help ensure proper documentation of your shipment.”