Farm exports from Colorado on the increase

Agricultural exports from Colorado continue to outpace last year, led by increases in the sale of meat and dairy products.

The value of agricultural exports during the first two months of 2012 totalled $222 million, up $45 million from the same span last year.

The 25 percent gain constituted the fourth year in a row ag exports have increased on a year-over-year basis during the first two months of the year.

“Colorado’s agricultural industry continues to be a shining light in a difficult economy,” said John Salazar, the state agriculture commissioner.

The value of meat exports during the first two months of 2012 increased more than $30 million compared to last year.

Colorado remains the top beef exporter to Canada, the second-ranked beef exporter to Japan and the third largest beef exporter to Mexico. Egypt and Chili, both new purchasers of Colorado beef over the past year, quickly have become the sixth and seventh largest export markets, respectively.

The value of dairy exports from Colorado rose nearly 80 percent during the first two months of 2012 to $13.7 million. Fully 92 percent of dairy exports went to Mexico, with some additional exports to Pakistan, Chili, Canada and seven other countries.

Mexico remained the second largest export market for Colorado agricultural products and the fastest growing market with a 46 percent increase in the first two months of 2012 compared to last year.

Dairy products accounted for most of the gain with a 90 percent increase in exports to Mexico. But exports of beef, dry edible beans, animal feed and cereal grains also increased.

Salazar said he hopes even greater gains will be made in Mexico. “We continue to work for greater market access in Mexico and will work in partnership with our agricultural industries to develop those opportunities,” he said.