Production Challenges, Economic Headwinds Slow Red Meat Exports in May

U.S. beef and pork exports trended lower in May, due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing. The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports beef exports dropped well below year-ago levels and recorded the lowest monthly volume in ten years. Pork exports remained higher than a year ago but were the lowest since October 2019. Packing plant disruptions caused by COVID-19 resulted in the lower exports. May beef exports were down 33 percent from a year ago to 79,200 metric tons, with value falling 34 percent to $480.1 million. May pork exports totaled 243,800 metric tons, 12 percent above a year ago but down 13 percent from the monthly average for the first quarter of 2020. Export value was $620.9 million, up nine percent year-over-year but 16 percent below the first quarter monthly average. However, improvements are expected. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says, “Now that production has substantially recovered, the U.S. industry is better able to meet the needs of both domestic and international customers.”