Mon April 30, 2012

Colorado Ag Exports Starting Off Strong for 2012

Colorado’s agricultural exports are continuing to grow in the first two months of the year. Compared to the first two months of 2011, Colorado’s ag exports this year are up 25%, at roughly $222 million overall.

Dairy exports are up 80%, to $14 million; and meat exports are up by more than $30 million.

Tim Larsen with the state Department of Agriculture says Canada remains the biggest importer of Colorado ag products, bringing in roughly $57 million so far.

He says Mexico is right behind with $55.1 million – which, according to Larsen, represents an almost 47% increase over the first two months of last year.

That increase has Mexico emerging as Colorado’s fastest-growing export market, which is why the state sent a trade delegation including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Agriculture Secretary John Salazar there last month.

“Colorado’s agricultural industry continues to be a shining light in a difficult economy,” Salazar said in a press release. “We continue to work for greater market access in Mexico and will work in partnership with our agricultural industries to develop those opportunities.”

Larsen says a few barriers are still slowing trade there, including being limited to markets along a small strip at the U.S. – Mexico border.

“We export 50-plus percent of all the fresh potatoes to Mexico – and that represents roughly five 18-wheel semi trucks a day leaving the San Luis Valley for Mexico,” Larsen says. “The industry feels that when we get full access to Mexico, that increase could be a full four-fold increase – 20 truckloads a day, just filled with fresh potatoes.”

  • Colorado remains the top U.S. exporter of beef to Canada, number two to Japan – and is the third-largest beef exporter to Mexico.
  • Egypt and Chile have become the 6th and 7th largest markets for Colorado beef.
  • Dairy exports grew almost 80% in the first two months of this year; 92% of dairy exports went to Mexico, with additional exports to countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and Bermuda.