Despite the current challenges due to COVID-19, U.S. pork and beef exports are on a record pace through February. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently released the data, which showed U.S. pork exports posting the third-largest month on record and U.S. beef exports experiencing double-digit gains, year-over-year.
According to the data, February pork exports were up 46 percent from a year ago, and U.S. beef exports were up 18 percent from a year ago.
“Even as COVID-19 disrupted export markets, demand for U.S. red meats remained strong,” says Dean Meyer, director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and secretary-treasurer of USMEF. “Around the world, consumer demand for high-quality red meat protein is growing and that includes a variety of meats.”
Meyer adds that USMEF is working closely with industry trade partners and the U.S. government in a concerted effort to keep the red meat supply chain from being disrupted in an effort to meet the protein demand of consumers here and around the world.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) partnered with USMEF on the value of red meat exports study last year. The study showed that in 2018, red meat exports’ impact on corn price is $0.39 per bushel, based on the annual average price of $3.53 per bushel.
Market Development Action Team Chair Dan Wesely said it is encouraging to see export demand for U.S. pork and beef continue to grow. “Animal agriculture is our number one customer, and with the uncertainty in the marketplace right now because of COVID-19, it is reassuring to know that exports in February were so strong. One in every four bushels of added feed demand for corn is directly tied to beef and pork exports.”
The study showed beef and pork exports used a combined total of 14.9 million tons of corn and DDGS, which equates to an additional 459.7 million bushels of corn produced.
In addition to partnering on the study, NCGA and state corn grower associations work with USMEF to share the value of U.S. corn fed beef and exports through educational and promotional events such as the Red Meat Processing Expo and World Meat Congress, as well as in-country marketing programs.