(Posted Tue. Feb 10th, 2015)
Export value for both U.S. beef and pork reached new heights in 2014, posting double-digit gains over the previous year’s totals, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Supporting meat exports is an important part of the National Corn Growers Association’s commitment to building profitable demand for corn, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer. Several of NCGA’s affiliated state checkoff programs support the work of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
“Providing quality corn-fed meat to consumers around the world, many of whom are looking for new and healthy sources of protein, helps support corn growers here at home – especially when you consider how livestock feed is our largest corn use,” Bowling said. “We value our ties to livestock and would like to work closely with them as partners in building demand for beef and pork products worldwide.”
According to the federation, beef export value was $7.13 billion – an increase of 16 percent (and nearly $1 billion) over the previous record set in 2013. Export volume was just under 1.2 million metric tons – which was short of the 2011 record, but up 2 percent year-over-year. Pork export value totaled $6.67 billion, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year, breaking the 2012 record by 6 percent. Pork export volume increased 2 percent to 2.18 million metric tons. The volume record is 2.62 million metric tons, set in 2012.
Exports overcame significant challenges to reach these milestones, including market access restrictions in Russia and China, an appreciating U.S. dollar and, most recently, shipping difficulties related to a labor dispute in the West Coast ports.
“2014 was an outstanding year for red meat exports, but headwinds continued to mount late in the year,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng. “The West Coast port congestion is extremely troubling, because the delays faced by exporters in December have become even more severe in 2015. If this dispute is not resolved soon, the meat industry will have to win back long-term customers who still want our product, but have no choice but to seek alternative suppliers.”