U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports set a new record for the month of September with an 8 percent increase in volume to 101,131 metric tons (mt) and 10 percent growth in value to $251 million compared to last September, according to the latest USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Through the first nine months of this year, pork export volume reached 905,392 mt valued at $2.2 billion, a 7 percent gain from the same period last year. The U.S. pork industry is aiming to finish the year as the 16th year for growth in volume of pork exports.

Meanwhile, U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports through September increased 17 percent in volume to 562,781 mt and 29 percent in value to $1.9 billion compared to the same time last year. Growth in exports to all markets, except Mexico and Taiwan, brings year-to-date volume to 58 percent of that in 2003 for the same time period, even though in effect Russia, China and Indonesia remain closed to U.S. beef exports and Japan has limited access.

Japan is the fourth largest market for U.S. beef through September with export volume up to 35,594 mt valued at $183 million. USMEF efforts in Japan continue to emphasize the “We Care” theme to show the U.S. beef industry cares about its customers. To take this one step further, USMEF recently donated nearly $7,000 (784,000 yen) to Ashinaga Iku-eikai, a Japanese-based charity that helps orphaned children. The money is the total sales amount of U.S. beef prime rib meals sold at the USMEF chuck wagon booth during the Country Gold outdoor music festival held Oct. 21 in Japan.

Japan is the No. 1 market for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports, through September accounting for more than 30 percent of total export volume and 40 percent of total export value. Pork exports to Mexico, the second largest market, remain below last year’s levels, but USMEF expects exports to increase during the final quarter as holiday demand and competitive U.S. ham prices are likely to support stronger exports.

Mexico is the top market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat, however, with exports through September reaching 262,597 mt, which is 5 percent less than the same time last year, but up 1 percent in value, at more than $872 million. USMEF encouraged families to purchase U.S. beef items at regional supermarkets in the Yucatanand could turn in their proofs of purchase for a school supply kit that included basic supplies, such as pencils, erasers and notepad, required by the local education agency. USMEF analysis showed red meat demand among families significantly decreases during the back-to-school season primarily due to the significant cost of school materials.

“This strengthened our relationship with consumers by demonstrating the U.S. red meat industry is aware of family expenses and cares enough to try to help,” said USMEF Mexico Marketing Manager Gustavo Castano.

Meanwhile, U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports to Canada increased 31 percent to 93,203 mt valued at nearly $426 million. Exports to Canada and Mexico comprise 63 percent of total export volume compared to 34 percent during the same period in 2003.

For more information on export statistics for individual markets, go to the USMEF statistics page.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.

Source: USMEF