Global demand for U.S. beef continues to soar

February was another big month for beef exports.

US Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom says China continues to play a big role in exports, but that’s not the only story.  “Taiwan is up significant year-over-year and that’s mainly chilled beef,” he says.  “Central America’s region is up, led by Guatemala and Panama.  Look at South America – the Colombian market is strong. The Caribbean market is strong.”  In just two months beef export value is nearly $2 billion.  February beef exports are up 5% in volume year-over-year, while value has jumped 35%.

He tells Brownfield while pork export levels are historically strong, they’ve been trending lower since mid-2021.  “The main driver there is the reduction in China,” he says.  “As they start to rebuild their herds their reliance on imports just isn’t what it was.”

But, Halstrom says there are some bright spots.  “The Latin American area in general,” he says.  “Mexico is up 30% and we saw sections of Central and South America showing growth as well.”  February pork exports were down 17% in volume year-over-year and down 14% in value.

He says February lamb exports hit their highest value in nearly eight years.  “Look at Mexico, which is the largest destination for lamb, is both traditional wholesale market destinations and food service,” he says.  “I think it is a testament to the return on food service that we’re starting to see incremental growth there.”  February exports for US lamb are up 37% in volume and up 62% in value.

Halstrom says U.S. exports of red meat continue to excel despite facing headwinds like labor and shortages of shipping containers.

AUDIO: Dan Halstrom, president, and CEO U.S. Meat Export Federation

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