Led by beef industry, Colorado ag exports soar in first half of ’10 | TheFencePost.com

Led by beef industry, Colorado ag exports soar in first half of ’10

Staff reports

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. That’s above the national increase of 15 percent.

Colorado Department of Agriculture officials said the state’s top five export sectors – meat, hides and skins, dairy, eggs and honey products, miscellaneous food and miscellaneous grain, seed and fruit – have experienced growth in the past year.

Colorado is the third-largest exporting state for fresh and frozen beef, as well as the fourth-largest exporter of hides, said John Stulp, Colorado’s agriculture commissioner.

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

Stulp 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.

Canada became the state’s largest export market in the first six months of 2010, with a 15 percent increase in beef imports, while Mexican beef imports dropped almost 20 percent. Japan’s increased purchases were a result of increased beef imports, while Korea’s increased imports included beef and hides. China’s increase was a result of more hide imports.

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While exports to Mexico were down, the industry anticipates new growth to that country after the Aug. 11 announcement that it was eliminating anti-importing duties on U.S. beef.

Exports of beef from the state – mainly from packing plants in Greeley and Fort Morgan – were up more than 27 percent in the first half of 2010 when compared with the same period a year ago.

Colorado is Canada’s largest suppler of fresh beef and Mexico’s second-largest supplier.

The agriculture department said exports of beef liver increased dramatically, growing from no exports to $4.9 million is the first six months of 2010. All that went to Egypt.

In 2009, Colorado companies exported $1.28 billion in agricultural products to 99 countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.