Colorado?s beef exports make history

Mar 6, 2009
by WLJ

The beef industry is the largest segment of Colorado’s agricultural industry, accounting for more than half the state’s total cash receipts from livestock and crop production.

Although industry profitability has been under pressure due to high production costs and lower market prices, exports continue to be a bright spot for the beef industry, with exports of beef and beef variety meats from Colorado reaching a record high of $497 million in 2008. In fact, current levels of beef exports from Colorado have, for the first time, exceeded levels reached prior to the closure of most major markets to U.S. beef in 2003 following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the U.S. herd. “Exports help generate added revenues to the industry.

Some cuts and products are purchased by customers in international markets at prices higher than could otherwise be received in the U.S.,” said Tom Lipetzky, markets division director for the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

According to the most recent 2008 statistics: Exports of beef and beef variety meats from Colorado surged 55 percent from 2007 levels to $497 million. Total U.S. exports increased 42 percent to just over $3 billion.

Colorado ranks second among all states in total exports of fresh chilled beef and third among all states in total exports of beef and beef variety meats.

Colorado is the number one supplier of beef and beef variety meats to Canada and the number two supplier to Mexico and Japan. Colorado was the number one supplier of fresh chilled beef to Korea.

“Potential for future growth in exports remains quite positive as Korean consumers are again welcoming U.S. beef and a full opening of Japan’s market could add significantly to exports,” continued Lipetzky. “More and more, it’s looking like it’s Colorado beef that is what’s for dinner for customers around the world.”

For additional information and statistics, visit and click on “Colorado Beef Exports.” —