According to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), January exports of U.S. beef and pork were up significantly year-over-year, maintaining the solid momentum established in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Beef exports totaled 96,488 metric tons, up 17 percent from a year ago, valued at $515.5 million – up 18 percent and the highest ever for the month of January. Exports accounted for 12.2 percent of total beef production and 9.5 percent for muscle cuts only – with both ratios being fairly steady with January 2016. Export value per head of fed slaughter was $256.62, up 7 percent from a year ago.
January pork exports were up 21 percent from a year ago in volume and jumped 26 percent in value to $508.6 million. Exports accounted for 26.2 percent of total pork production and 21.7 percent for muscle cuts – up significantly from the respective January 2016 shares of 22.3 percent and 18.8 percent. Pork export value averaged $50.23 per head slaughtered, up 21 percent from a year ago.
“The red meat industry entered 2017 with an optimistic outlook, confident that we can continue our recent strong momentum in the international markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “The January results certainly validate that feeling, but we understand that significant challenges still lie ahead. With record-large pork production and beef production also trending higher it’s more important than ever that we capitalize on our abundance of protein, and move more product out of the country by growing U.S. market share in established markets and breaking new ground in emerging destinations.”