U.S. pork exports in February reached 346 million pounds, or 156,969 metric tons, a 55% jump over export totals from February 2007, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The February results helped the U.S. pork industry achieve its fifth consecutive month of record-breaking exports, including variety meats.
For January and February 2008, pork and pork variety meat exports are up 41%, totaling 671.6 million pounds, or 304,651 metric tons, valued at $685 million.
"Producers will continue to rely on exports in these challenging times," said Tim Bierman, a pork producer from Larrabee, Iowa, and a member of both the National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff Trade Committee. "One in every five pigs, about 20%, produced in the U.S. was exported during these two months."
On a volume basis China/Hong Kong was the largest market for U.S. Pork and pork variety meats for January and February 2008 with 164.7 million pounds or 74,745 metric tons. That is a 287% increase over the same time period in 2007. However, Japan remains No. 1 on a value basis at $210.9 million, or 31 percent of total pork and pork variety meat export value.
"Pork production is running 12% over last year, making it impossible to raise prices to cover the ever-increasing costs of production," said Erin Daley, USMEF manager of research and analysis. "Without pork exports, at these production rates the U.S. market would have to absorb the equivalent of an additional 60,000 hogs per day, which would drive prices down significantly."