Colorado ag exports on the rise

John Salazar

Exports of agricultural products from Colorado remain well ahead of last year with increases in the exports of meat, dairy and baking-related products.

“Colorado’s  farmers, ranchers and food processors are helping Colorado return to a strong, diverse economy,” said John Salazar, the

state agriculture commissioner. “I am confident that our continued focus on expanding exports will help Colorado’s economy recover.”

The value of agricultural exports from the state totaled $284.8 million during the first quarter of 2011. That’s an increase of nearly $70 million, or almost 32 percent, over the first quarter of 2010.

Meat products remained the top ag export from Colorado during the first quarter of 2011, accounting for more than 61 percent of all ag exports. The value of exported meat products totaled $175.3 million. That figure increased $39.6 million, or about 29 percent, over the first quarter of 2010.

The value of exported hides and skins increased $9.4 million to $47 million, a

25 percent increase over last year.

The value of exported dairy products jumped nearly 160 percent to $14.8 million, while the value of exported baking-related products increased more than 62 percent to $2.6 million.

The value of miscellaneous foods — including herbal teas, beverage ingredients and other products — advanced more than 47 percent to $10.6 million. The value of exported animal feeds, cereals, sugars and vegetables also increased during the first quarter of 2011 compared to last year.

Only the value of grain, seed and fruit exports declined during the quarter, falling nearly 25 percent to $6.4 million with reduced exports of sunflower and planting seeds.

Canada remained the top ag export market for Colorado, importing products with a total value $77.3 million. Canada imported $60.5 million in beef products during the first three months of the year.

Mexico ranked second among ag export markets, importing $62.5 million worth of products. Mexico constitutes the largest export market for dairy products and the second largest market for beef and meat products.

Ag exports to Japan increased nearly 30 percent during the first quarter to nearly $33 million. Korea remans a major market for Colorado beef as well as a growing market for hides. China doesn’t allow beef imports from the United States, but does import animal feeds and hides.