Colorado ag exports on the rise

John Salazar
John Salazar

The value of agricultural products exported from Colorado topped $2 billion in 2013 and increased by almost $65 million during the first quarter for 2014.

“Increasing exports is critical to Colorado agriculture and our rural communities,” said John Salazar, state agriculture commissioner.

Agricultural exports from Colorado were shipped to 96 countries during the first quarter, six more than in the first quarter of 2013.

Moreover, exports to three key markets increased by $32 million to Mexico, $8.3 million to China and $6.7 million to Japan.

A range of products accounted for increased exports to Mexico, including meat, dairy products, hides and processed foods.

After imposing restrictions for decades, Mexico has expanded market access to fresh potatoes, resulting in what’s expected will be a four-fold increase in fresh potato exports over the next few years. Colorado is already the leading exporter of fresh potatoes to Mexico with more than 50 percent of the market.

“Colorado is pleased to have the Mexican government reduce import restrictions for Colorado and U.S. potatoes,” Salazar said.

The increase in ag exports to China consisted mostly of hides, with that country now importing more than half of all hides from Colorado.

Japan increased imports of beef, a result of expanded market access allowed in 2013.

“We still have access barriers for our major sectors — including beef, wheat and dairy — that prevent Colorado agriculture from reaching full sales potential,” Salazar said. “Increasing global access for Colorado agricultural products remains a focus of my office.”