A new report from the Colorado Department of Agriculture shows that beef exports in the first half of 2008 have shot up 80%, a record $240,000,000 worth of beef was exported from Colorado.
Bill Martin, owner of Western Slope Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction says about Colorado beef; "the main thing is that we have a real good product, we have good people that raise it, and the fact that there is international demand for it and that's a very positive thing."
Exports to Canada, Mexico, and Japan accounted for 98% of beef exports. Martin says that the enormous increase is because Japan has opened its market back up to foreign beef exports after being closed for a few years because of threats of Mad Cow Disease.
This year beef was the top Colorado export product to Japan, and the new auction house is helping to carve that niche. Martin says, "the fact that we're here is saving the freight on those cattle and letting that money come right here to the west slope."
The cattle are auctioned every Wednesday at Western Slope Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction, they are auctioning about 1,000 a month right now.. a number Martin hopes to double. the cattle are then taken over to Greeley and Fort Morgan to be process and shipped out.
Cash receipts from beef totaled more than $3,000,000,000 in 2007, making beef the largest segment of Colorado’s agricultural industry. Colorado is second among all states for exports of beef and beef variety meats.