Robust Pork Exports Continue in February; Beef Export Value Increases

Strong global demand for U.S. pork has been been a bright spot for the industry. Fueled by growth in the Western Hemisphere, South Korea and Australia, U.S. pork exports posted another excellent performance in February, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). February pork exports increased 14% from a year ago to more than 250,000 metric tons (mt), while value jumped 15% to $685 million. 

“February export stats continue to show significant momentum for pork globally – up 10%. year to date, 14% growth in the month of February. We continue to see a dramatic performance by Mexico, but I think this month the real story is that there’s a lot of other markets that are contributing to the cause,” says USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom. “We’ve got Korea, we’ve got Colombia we’ve got Australia, Central America. Korea in particular is exciting, I think, because it’s starting to show the inevitable rebound of food service in Korea, which we’ve been waiting on for several months. So I think overall, a very exciting month for pork.”

Coming off a record value year for pork, Halstrom says it’s great to see broad-based momentum for pork exports. Pork is well ahead of last year’s record pace. 

Meanwhile,  beef exports reached 103,883 mt in February, down 1% from a year ago, but export value increased 10% to $830.4 million. January-February exports were also down 1% to 203,647 mt, with export value climbing 9% to $1.59 billion. 

USMEF notes that February beef exports to the Caribbean were the largest on record, while demand from Mexico and Central and South America continued to trend higher. Exports also increased year-over-year to Taiwan, and Korea posted an increase in export value. 

“Tight beef supplies are definitely a challenge for exporters, and that situation isn’t going to change anytime soon,” Halstrom says. “But on a positive note, we are seeing more opportunities for underutilized beef cuts, including the round, shoulder clod and variety meat, in the global marketplace. Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the foodservice and hospitality sectors are finally gaining some momentum in key Asian markets such as Korea, where the post-COVID recovery has been slower than anticipated.”