Banner year for U.S. beef exports
The value of U.S. beef exports rose 19 percent or nearly $1 billion in 2010, helping the beef export industry to its best year ever, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
A total of $4.1 billion in beef exports broke the high from 2003 of $3.9 billion by more than 5 percent. That record was set prior to the U.S. incident of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in December 2003.
Total volume for 2010 was 1.1 million metric tons.
Pork export value, meanwhile, posted the second-best year on record at $4.8 billion, falling just 2 percent short of the 2008 high and besting 2009 by more than 10 percent. Total volume was 1.9 million metric tons, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.
“We knew the groundwork was in place for an excellent recovery in 2010,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and chief executive officer. “But even the most optimistic forecasts underestimated the degree to which our beef exports would bounce back. Increasing beef export value by almost one-third, and nearly $1 billion, is a critical achievement for the U.S. beef industry and a substantial boost for U.S. producers.”
Export value equated to $153.09 per head of fed slaughter, up 22 percent from 2009 and 12 percent higher than in 2003. Nearly 12 percent of total beef production was exported, compared to less than 10 percent in 2009.
Mexico was the only major destination for U.S. beef to show a decline in 2010, and even that market is showing substantial improvement, USMEF said. For the year, beef exports to Mexico were down 15 percent in volume (247,614 metric tons) and 10 percent in value ($819.1 million). For the third consecutive month, December exports to Mexico exceeded their 2009 value — jumping by more than 15 percent to $83.6 million.
Beef exports to South Korea rose 140 percent in 2010, to $517.9 million, while exports to Japan (the third largest market for U.S. beef exports) rose 36 percent, to $639.5 million.