BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Agriculture continues to be essential to the Hoosier state, and trade in foreign markets has only enhanced that significance, shows a study of the economic impact of Indiana’s agricultural exports by the Indiana Business Research Center in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

The study found the economic impact of agriculture, one of Indiana’s largest industries, and its growing role in exports. Indiana agricultural exports are beneficial to farmers, workers, communities and the economy.

In 2010, Indiana had $3.4 billion in commodities and processed goods exported, making up 10 percent of all state exports.

The study also found that more than 100,000 Hoosiers worked on 62,000 farms statewide or in agricultural processing and food manufacturing in 2010. The combined effects of agriculture exports resulted in an increase in farm prices and income, as well as supported 34,800 jobs statewide.

Indiana now is recognized as the eighth-leading agriculture exporter in the nation.

Phil Paarlberg, an agriculture economics professor at Purdue University, said exporting certain items is critical to Indiana farm income.

The U.S. exports corn, soybeans, pork and wheat, and a large share of ag product exports goes to Asian markets. Soybeans and related products accounted for half of Indiana’s agricultural exports in 2010, totaling $1.7 billion.

“In terms of Indiana farm income, exporting corn, soybeans and products and pork is critical,” Paarlberg said. “While the (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus) spread has been getting cited as the reason for the high pork and hog prices, the strong export performance for pork also plays a role.”

The impact of agricultural trade was highlighted recently on an Asian trade mission by Indiana officials, including Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, and Hoosier agriculture industry representatives.

“We’re blessed to have plentiful food and be able to share those resources with the world,” Ellspermann said. “Indiana and the U.S. continue to support the growing world population and growing middle class with pork and poultry and other exports.”

The concern about feeding a growing population stems from the world population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050.

Indiana agriculture benefits by maintaining good relationships and keeping communication open with these countries, said Shelley McDaniel, treasurer of Indiana Soybean Alliance.

“We are supporting our growing economy here in Indiana by developing relationships in these countries,” she said.

Indiana’s agricultural exports will continue to benefit the state as efforts to expand existing export markets increase.

The goal in the future is to expand existing markets, as well as open new ones. Doing these things should have significant positive ripple effects through Indiana economy, the report said.