CO Ag Exports Drop in First Quarter

Colorado Department of Agriculture 

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Since 2009, Colorado’s agricultural exports have increased by 72.7 percent; however, in the first quarter of 2013, there was a slight decrease of 2.7 percent from the prior year while total US agricultural exports were up 6.1 percent.

A review of export trends for Colorado’s core commodities provided insights into the marketing challenges facing the industry:

  • US exports of beef products were up 4.3 percent; Colorado’s beef exports, the state’s largest export commodity, decreased 3.9 percent.
  • Colorado also saw exports of dairy products drop as anticipated with the new cheese production facility in northeast Colorado consuming milk that was previously processed for export.
  • Colorado’s hide exports increased 22.3 percent versus the US increase of 15.6 percent.
  • The drought reduced Colorado millet exports by $5 million in 2013, but anticipated increased planting should provide adequate stock for a rebound in exports with the 2013 harvest.

Colorado’s agricultural exports decreased $9.4 million to $337.4 million in the first quarter of 2013 versus 2012 first quarter exports. Two key markets also created significant changes to Colorado’s export totals. Mexico, the state’s third largest beef export market, decreased purchases of beef throughout the US; Colorado’s beef exports to Mexico were down more than $19 million. Colorado and national beef exporters also lost sales to Russia with the closure of this important market.

While the Mexican market shrank and the Russian market closed, Colorado beef exports grew in other key markets. Beef exports to Canada were up 26 percent, an increase of $12.3 million, Korea increased 28 percent to over $28 million, Hong Kong grew 196 percent to $17 million, and Taiwan increased 128 percent to $8.2 million.

“Increasing exports and creating a wide range of global markets for Colorado beef is critical for the long term viability of our beef industry. Increased access to the Japanese market became effective in February, so we anticipate more exports to Japan this year,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar.  “Furthermore, it does not end with access. As we enter the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement negotiations, agriculture must remain diligent in making sure agricultural issues are a key element of these trade agreements.”

International marketing specialists are available to assist in beginning and expanding Colorado’s export markets. Assistance includes training for export operations, assessment of market options, international finance and accessing USDA funding support for exporters. For more information visit, call (303) 239-4118 or e-mail

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessEconomyFeatured


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