Colorado ag exports on the rise

The value of Colorado agricultural exports continues to increase with large gains in meats, dairy products and beans.

The value of ag exports during the first half of 2012 totaled more than $710 million. That’s an increase of 18 percent over the same span in 2011 and 38 percent over the same span in 2010, the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported.

“We are enthused about the continued growth of Colorado’s agricultural exports to international markets, which contribute to Colorado’s economic vitality,” said John Salazar, state agricultural commissioner.

The value of meat exports during the first half of 2012 increased $79 million, or 22 percent, over the same span last year.

The proportional gain was even larger for dairy products at 44 percent.

Dairy exports have more than doubled since 2010.

An increase in the sales of dry edible beans to Mexico accounted for most of a 188 percent gain in vegetable exports. Wheat exports, primarily to Mexico, increased $2 million.

Agricultural exports also increased on a year-over-year basis to the top markets for Colorado during the first half of 2012: up 11 percent to $191.9 million to Canada, up 16 percent to $149 million to Mexico and up 48 percent to $99.6 million to Japan. Ag exports also increased to Russia, China and South Korea.

Agricultural exports accounted for almost 18 percent of total exports from Colorado during the first half of 2012 and anywhere from 19 percent to 66 percent of all exports from the state to top markets.

“It is important that we continue to advocate for further access in global markets for our agricultural products,” Salazar said.

“Colorado’s agricultural exports have further growth opportunities as we work to open and expand global markets.”