Farm exports for the United States hit a new record high in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Total agricultural exports for the calendar year of 2011 were $136.3 billion, and international sales rose $20.5 billion over the previous record set in 2010.

Grains composed the largest portion of the overall record, reaching a record high $37.7 billion, up $9.2 billion from 2010. Cotton saw a 44 percent increase from the previous year, reaching $8.4 billion. Dairy exports reached $4.8 billion, and pork exports hit $6 billion, both new records as well.

Beef exports were $5.4 billion, a $1.6 billion increase from the previous year. More good news for beef producers is that United Arab Emirates officials liberalized imports of U.S. beef by eliminating age restrictions in late January of 2012.

“American agriculture continues to apply the latest in technology, and achieve a nearly unparalleled level of productivity,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In fact, U.S. agriculture is the second-most productive sector of our economy in the past few decades outside of information technology.”