Food & Agriculture
Colorado has a strong heritage in farming and ranching, as well as great depth in natural and organic foods, craft beverages and global restaurant franchises. Innovation and the determination to succeed continue to define Colorado’s food and agriculture industry, which has persevered since the first pioneers settled the state.
Governor Hickenlooper praises the diverse agricultural and food industry for helping lead the state out of the recession. The industry generates more than $5 billion dollars in economic output annually. Exports are a major driver of the industry, with Colorado food and agriculture products being imported by more than 100 countries worldwide and growing by 20% in 2011 to $718 million.
Colorado maintains a strong reputation for large production agriculture, as well as organic and natural foods, and is a leading producer of specialty products including fresh market potatoes, barley, cantaloupe, lettuce, potatoes, sweet corn, and winter wheat. Additionally, Colorado has the highest milk production per dairy cow in the U.S. and is a leader in the number of cattle and lambs fed. The state is also recognized for its meat processing technology and leadership in animal welfare.
Colorado’s food and beverage manufacturing sectors are both major drivers of the industry, with concentrations in animal processing, bakeries, and tortilla manufacturing and dairy product manufacturing, as well as breweries and soft drink manufacturing.
Colorado is the nation’s leader in producing beer, with nearly 150 breweries statewide. Some of the top brewing companies in the country are housed in Colorado, such as New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues and Odells Brewing Company. Additionally, both distilleries and wineries have significant growth potential, with Colorado’s two wine regions already generating significant economic activity annually for wine-based tourism.