Colorado ag exports on the rise

Agricultural exports from Colorado remain well ahead of last year with increases in the sale of beef, dairy products and grain.

The value of agricultural exports through the first seven months of

2011 totalled $718 million, up 20 percent over the same span last year, according to figures reported by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

“Agricultural exports continue to play an important part in our state’s economic recovery,” said John Salazar, state agricultural commissioner.

“So far this year, we have seen an additional $118 million from the ag export sector, and that is directly attributed to our producers and benefits the entire state.”

Beef remained the top ag export from Colorado, the value of which totalled nearly $390 million through the first seven months of 2011, a

21 percent increase over last year.

Beef exports increased 42 percent to Canada to $135.2 million, 31 percent to Korea to $46.3 million and 21 percent to Japan to $71.6 million. Beef exports to Mexico and Russia held steady at $76.4 million and $19.5 million, respectively.

“We have seen phenomenal growth in Asia,” Salazar said. “Beef markets grew to 36 percent of Colorado’s export market for an increase of 112 percent over the past two years.”

That trend reinforces the importance of trade negotiations to remove restrictions on beef exports to Japan and open the market in China, Salazar added.

The value of exported hides and skins totalled $131 million through the first seven months of 2011, a 20 percent gain. The value of exported dairy products, eggs and honey increased

51 percent to $28.5 million. The value of miscellaneous food exports advanced 24 percent to $23.3 million. The value of exported cereals nearly doubled to $21.8 million.

Millet exports rose 77 percent to $9.7 million. Corn exports have increased as well, particularly to Mexico, which increased its purchases 258 percent to $11.6 million.

Only four categories of ag exports have decreased so far this year:

cocoa, fats and oils, live trees and plants, and miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruits.

Canada remained the top agricultural export market for Colorado, purchasing $213.4 million in products during the first seven months of 2011. That’s an increase of almost 25 percent over the same span last year.

Mexico ranked second among ag export markets, importing nearly $144.4 million worth of products, up more than 3 percent.

Ag exports to Japan increased nearly 9 percent to almost $80.6 million.

China imported products worth more than $63 million, a gain of more than 40 percent. Korea rounded out the top five export markets for Colorado, purchasing nearly $60.8 million in ag products for an increase of more than 28 percent.