Pork Exports Expecting Another Banner Year

Pork production continues to grow. In 2019, U.S. production was five percent higher than 2018. That production is expected to increase again this year. National Pork Board International Marketing Director Clay Eastwood says exports are an important way to bring value back to the farmer.

“For current data, we have data through January of this year, U.S. pork exports are setting at just over 515 million lbs., which is the second-highest month on record for U.S. pork exports, and up 46 percent year over year. Largely that increase is driven by a almost 150 million lbs. increase to China. So, we’ve seen about a 90 percent year over year growth to the Chinese market. So, that’s kind of where the U.S. pork export side is sitting. And we know that obviously with the global pandemic of COVID-19, that’s created additional opportunity with the Chinese protein gap, but also other opportunities in markets like Japan and Hong Kong. So, we’ve seen quite a bit of change over there, but we’re starting to see, as consumers and some of the people in those markets are starting to return to work, we’re starting to see a bit of that degree of normalcy kind of come back to place and we should see that in exports moving forward.”

Exports are critically important for the pork industry.

“And I think a lot of producers would agree with that in terms of returning value back to the farm. January export value per-head averaged just over $62 and that was the highest since 2014, with the exception of late last year. But, that’s a significant return back to the producer. And just to give a little more perspective, January pork exports accounted for almost 30 percent of production when variety meats into that number. So, just a huge percent of our production. And, when you think about as we continue to produce more and we’re expected to produce more here in 2020, exports are critical peace of making sure that we’re getting that product to the consumer.”

For more information, producers can contact the Pork Checkoff Service Center. Go to Pork-dot org or call 800-456-PORK.