The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says based on USDA data, U.S. beef and pork exports topped $11.5 billion in 2011 -- a new record.
For the year, pork exports totaled 2.255 million metric tons (MMT) valued at $6.11 billion, breaking the previous volume record of 2.052 MMT and shattering the value record of $4.88 billion, which were both established in 2008. Year-over-year, pork exports were up 18% in volume and 28% in value, says USMEF.
Beef exports finished the year at 1.287 MMT valued at $5.42 billion. This broke the 2003 volume record of 1.274 MMT and easily surpassed the 2010 value record of $4.08 billion. Export volume was 21% larger than in 2010, with value up 33%.
While the record-breaking performance of 2011 is impressive, USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng believe that USMEF and its industry partners have laid the groundwork for even greater success in the future. "Demand for U.S. red meat has never been stronger, and we are well-positioned to build on this success," he said. "We have the marketing tools in place to showcase the quality and consistency of U.S. products, which our industry is able to deliver at a very competitive price and end users are able to utilize in extremely creative and innovative ways. Real opportunities exist for further growth, and USMEF fully intends to capitalize on this strong momentum."
Juli says: The possibility of new records being posted in 2012 are very real -- especially another "value" record given the likelihood beef values will average higher this year than last due to tighter supplies. Some other impressive figures for 2011 -- export value per head slaughtered was $55.55 for hogs and $206 per head cattle. The export market is back and it's strong!