Global interests: Colorado is a notable player in international commerce, from livestock in Yuma to tourists in Aspen.

Author:Best, Allen
Position:AGRICULTURE REPORT
 
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Aspen and Yuma, though both in Colorado, inhabit different universes. Aspen, located about 175 miles west of Denver, has multimillionaires at every turn, conferences that draw prime ministers and presidents, and nose-bleed real estate prices that result in nearly half the permanent population living in deed-restricted affordable housing. Locals unflinchingly vote for Democrats. You can, of course, see mountains from Aspen.

Yuma lies 175 miles east of Denver and no, you can't see the mountains from there. It's along the Republican River, and that parallels local political sensibilities. If there are a half-dozen places to eat, don't press your luck too long past dark. It's true that a high-level U.S. official can often be found. That would be U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. He grew up in Yuma.

Wheat is big in Yuma. From the local CHS grain elevator, the town's tallest structure, 110-car trains get loaded methodically and dispatched to distant ports, this year mostly to Houston/Galveston.

Eighty percent of Colorado wheat gets exported internationally. Much goes to Japan, Korea and China, but also the Middle East and Africa. Mexico, too. The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been good for Colorado wheat growers, says Darrell Hanavan, formerly the executive director for 34 years of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee. "Mexico is one of the top markets for Colorado and U.S. wheat, and it continues to expand," he says.

So different in many ways, Yuma and Aspen are similarly integrated into the global economy Aspen Skiing Co. says that up to 30 percent of its visitors come from outside the U.S. in any given winter. They typically linger for lengthy periods, a week or sometimes more, and sometimes spend lavishly.

In agriculture. NAFTA has expanded trade with both Canada and Mexico, our No. 1 and No. 2 markets. Tom Lipetzky. director of the marketing programs and strategic initiatives for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, says agriculture exports have tripled in the last decade. They topped out at about $2 billion in 2014 before dipping last year because of the strong dollar, which make U.S. products more expensive.

Globalization was a theme in the presidential campaigns. Donald Trump, argued that ordinary Americans have suffered from trade agreements. Hillary Clinton firmly supported globalization before swiveling to oppose the still-unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership. Campaign rhetoric, though, seemed to entirely bypass...

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