Colorado ag exports increase during first half

John Stulp

Exports of agricultural products from Colorado continue to grow with increased shipments of beef leading the way.

The value of agricultural exports from the state totaled $508.9 million through the first half of 2010, a 27 percent increase over the same span last year, according to statistics reported by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

For all of 2009, Colorado companies exported a total of $1.28 billion worth of agricultural products to 99 countries.

Exports of meat rose nearly 21 percent to $322.4 million. Exports of hides and skins jumped almost 91 percent to $92.3 million.

Increases also were reported for dairy and egg products as well as miscellaneous foods, grains, seeds and fruits.

“With continued efforts to open more global markets to Colorado and U.S. beef, we look forward to further increases in our beef exports,” said John Stulp, Colorado commissioner of agriculture.

“We are also encouraged by the hide exports, which are often viewed as an indicator of future trends,” Stulp added. “Asia has significantly increased their hide imports, which are then processed into consumer goods and leather for car interiors.”

Canada was the top export market for Colorado agricultural products during the first half of 2010 with a 15 percent increase to $145.6 million. Beef exports alone to Canada increased almost 15 percent to $80.5 million, making Colorado the largest supplier of fresh beef to that country.

Mexico was the second largest export market despite a nearly 5 percent drop in the value of agriculture goods shipped there. While beef exports to Mexico dropped almost 20 percent to $69.7 million, an announcement the country has eliminated anti-importing duties on U.S. beef is expected to prompt additional shipments. Colorado is the second largest supplier of fresh beef to Mexico.

Japan ranked third among the top five export markets for Colorado agricultural products, followed by Korea and China. Korea increased its imports of beef and hides, while China increased imports of hides.

Exports of beef liver from Colorado rose to $4.9 million during the first half of 2010 with shipments to Egypt.