Colorado ag exports grow during first half of 2013

John Salazar

Exports of agricultural products from Colorado totaled nearly $726 million during the first half of 2013 as increases in some foreign markets more than offset decreases in other markets.

At $725.6 million, the dollar volume of ag exports edged up about 2 percent over the first half of 2012, but constitutes a 20 percent increase over 2011, the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported.

Agricultural exports increased in seven of the top 10 markets for Colorado. Increases of $23.1 million to Canada and $18.2 million to Hong Kong more than offset a $27 million decrease to Russia.

Brazil joined the top 10 list of markets during the first half of 2013 in importing more than $9 million worth of of agricultural products, an increase of $328,000. Brazil imported Colorado wheat for the first time with a purchase worth $8.5 million.

Colorado ag exports went to 102 countries, with new markets opening in such far-flung locations as Aruba, Guyana and Tunisia.

“Colorado’s broad market reach is critical for our industry,” said John Salazar, Colorado commissioner of agriculture. “By increasing our global markets, Colorado can continue to increase sales well into the future.”

Decreases in ag exports were reported for several markets. Russia continued its closure to red meats from the U.S., including Colorado.

Exports to Mexico declined $26 million as that country struggled with a weak economy. Overall exports decreased despite an increase in exports of U.S. beet to Mexico in June, reversing a five-month downward trend.

“Colorado’s cattle industry continues to focus on not only expanding current markets, but also to advocate for the opening of both the Russian and Chinese markets, which will provide additional export opportunities for the Colorado beef industry,” Salazar said. “Gaining access to these markets represents a critical element or our industry’s future viability.”