2020 Pork Exports Exceeded Expectations

Exports of U.S. pork to other countries exceeded expected levels in 2020. Clay Eastwood, Director of International Marketing with the National Pork Board, says both volume and value of U.S. pork exports were up year-over-year, through November, according to the latest available data.

“So, to put a little bit in perspective there. So, January through November, we’re just under 6 billion pounds which is up 14 percent year over year, and we’re just over $7 billion worth of value which is up 13 percent year over year. In terms of export value for head November, we’re just over $63 per head and year to date through November at $58.53 export value per head.”

Eastwood says 29.3 percent of total pork production is sold on the export market. She explains the importance of carcass balance based, on what countries value which cuts.

“It’s important to remember that when you harvest an animal, we try to utilize all the parts and pieces. Not all of those parts and pieces are consumed here domestically, but in different places around the world and in different markets, some of those variety meats or byproducts are actually considered higher value and carry a premium. So, that’s one of the great stories for U.S. pork in terms of carcass balance and utilization of the entire carcass.”

According to Eastwood, there is global competition for pork, but U.S. pork in considered the leader when it comes to quality, cost, and safety.

“We’re a low-cost producer, we have a high quality consistent product, it’s very, very safe. And so, safety is really a non-negotiable when you talk about meat products, those are really the pillars of what we stand on, but also the things like our We Care principles, our sustainability efforts, why we produce the product that we do and how we do it is really, really, important on the global stage.”

For more information on U.S. pork, the global marketplace, and on-farm practices, log on to pork.org.