Colorado agricultural exports rise 27 percent in first half of year

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Colorado ag exports up in first half of year

DENVER — Colorado agricultural exports in the first half of the year rose 27 percent from the same period last year, to $508.9 million, state officials said Wednesday.

Colorado exports of meat, hides and skins; animal products such as milk, eggs and honey; miscellaneous food; and miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruit were all up.

“With continued efforts to open more global markets to Colorado and U.S. beef, we look forward to further increases in our beef exports,” Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp said in a written statement.

Stulp also said he was encouraged by a nearly 91 percent increase in state exports of hides, which are used in car interiors, purses, shoes, belts and jackets. He said Asia has significantly increased hide imports.

Nationally, hide exports were up 61 percent, said Tim Larsen of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s markets division.

“We got a little bit more than our share, and I’ll take it,” Larsen said.

He said he was eager to see whether an uptick in hide imports is an early sign of global economic activity picking up.

“They don’t buy them and stockpile them. Are there industry sectors out there saying, ‘Aha, we see growth’?” Larsen said.

South Korea has reduced some of its barriers to U.S. beef in the past year, Larsen said, and Russia has started buying much more of Colorado’s edible beef, going from about $100,000 in imports from Colorado in the first six months of 2009 to $19.5 million in the same period this year.

Colorado’s exports of edible beef to Mexico are down about 20 percent through June. Industry groups say they expect that to rise because Mexico has since announced an end to antidumping duties placed on U.S. beef.

Colorado is Canada’s largest supplier of fresh beef and Mexico’s second-largest supplier, the state Agriculture Department said.

Cargill Meat Solutions’ plant in Fort Morgan processes about 5,000 head of cattle a day, and Brazilian beef producer JBS has U.S. operations headquartered in Greeley. More than half of Colorado land is used for grazing.

will not be displayed