Market diversification benefits US beef and pork producers

US red meat exports hit a record in March, with pork and beef exports hitting a combined total of nearly $1.6 billion.

Dan Halstrom president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation says pork exports grew despite a decline in shipments to China.  “We saw dramatic growth year-over-year here in Japan, which was up more than 11 percent,” he says.  “And of course, Southeast Asia, we saw dramatic growth with African swine fever into the Philippines.  And Mexico and Central America were also up.”

Pork exports set a new volume record at nearly 295,000 metric tons with growth in exports to countries outside of the top five markets for US pork.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says continuing to diversify markets is vital to growing demand for US pork and beef.  “Having more countries available to export US pork – that’s a risk management strategy,” he says.  “If one were to sit on the sideline, we have other options available to us.  It’s important to continue to grow the list of countries interested in US beef and pork both.”

Beef exports hit $800 million for the first time in March, supported by sold growth in South Korea and a jump in exports to China as the US continues to expand its supply of China-eligible beef.

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