US Pork Exports Setting Record Pace

U.S. pork exports were on a record pace over the past year. Pork Checkoff Assistant Vice President for International Markets Becca Hendricks has the most recent data…

“We are currently on track to beat the 2011 record for U.S. pork exports. We only have data through the end of November 2012, but we are up to about $5.8 billion in value which is 5% above the previous year.”

Despite record sales – there have been challenges that impacted pork export sales in 2012…

“There were several trade access issues, such as non-scientific protection barriers that importing countries put in place to keep out exports. Our role at check off is to encourage countries to follow their obligations to the WTO and other agreement requirements so that fair trade can exist. There were other issues that came up, such as the west and east coast pork strikes which halted shipments.”

Three new free trade agreements were implemented this past year. Hendricks says that creates opportunity for the year ahead.

Hendricks says Japan has traditionally been a strong market for high value pork cuts – but new opportunities are coming…

“We are getting into other avenues such as convenience stores where we are promoting To Go bento boxes. This segment is really growing in Japan. We are also promoting thick cuts such as chops and roast, where a lot of the Japanese consumers are used to consuming very thin sliced pork cuts.”
Mexico is another strong market for U.S. pork…

“We ship a lot of hams to Mexico and also a lot of product raw materials for further processing. Their retail segments are really growing – like supermarkets, so we are doing a lot of promotion there.”

Hendricks says exports have a significant impact on the producers’ bottom line. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.

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