Tag Archives: Pork

U.S. red meat exports ended the first quarter on a very high note, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), with March beef and pork exports each posting the highest monthly value on record. Pork exports and shipments of beef muscle cuts also set new volume records in March.

Beef exports totaled 124,808 metric tons (mt) in March, up 8% from a year ago and the second largest of the post-BSE era. Export value broke the $800 million mark for the first time at $801.9 million, up 14% year-over-year. Beef muscle cut exports set new monthly records for both volume (98,986 mt, up 13% from a year ago) and value ($718.3 million, up 17%). For the first quarter, beef exports pulled even with last year’s pace at 333,348 mt, valued at $2.12 billion. For beef muscle cuts, first quarter exports increased 4% to 262,914 mt, valued at $1.9 billion (up 5%).

March highlights for U.S. beef included record exports to China, Honduras and the Philippines and strong results in South Korea, Chile and Colombia.

March pork exports were record-large at 294,724 mt, up 1% from last year’s strong total, and set a new value record at $794.9 million (up 4%). Pork muscle cuts also set new monthly records for both volume (247,660 mt, up 2% from a year ago) and value $689.2 million (up 4%). For the first quarter, pork exports were 7% below last year’s pace in both volume (782,620 mt) and value ($2.07 billion). Pork muscle cuts followed a similar trend at 659,420 mt (down 7%), valued at $1.79 billion (down 8%).

March pork exports were led by strong performances in Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and Central America, including new records in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Exports were also record-large to the Dominican Republic for the second consecutive month.

“It’s very gratifying to see such an outstanding breakout month for U.S. beef and pork exports,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exports were off to a respectable start in 2021, considering the logistical and labor challenges the industry is facing and ongoing restrictions on the foodservice sector in many key markets. While these obstacles are not totally behind us, the March results show the situation is improving and the export totals better reflect the strong level of global demand for U.S. red meat.”

While muscle cuts certainly drove March export growth, Halstrom was also encouraged by a rebound in shipments of beef and pork variety meat.

“The tight labor situation at the plant level has been especially hard on variety meat volumes,” Halstrom said. “But March variety meat exports matched last year’s performance for pork and were the largest of 2021 on the beef side. It’s important that the capture rate for variety meat continues to improve, as this is a critical component of the export product mix.”

March exports of U.S. lamb were up 54% from a year ago to 1,089 mt, valued at $1.5 million (up 22%). For the first quarter, export volume increased 64% from a year ago to 3,268 mt, but value was down 4% at $4.3 million. Lamb variety meat exports were led by strong demand in Mexico, while lamb muscle cuts increased to the Dominican Republic, Bermuda and Canada.

 

 

U.S. pork processor Seaboard Foods wants to pursue a 10-1/2-month delay to a federal court decision that would force it to slow the speed of hog slaughtering at a massive Oklahoma pork plant, according to court documents.

The second-biggest U.S. pig producer seeks to intervene in the line speed case after a federal judge ruled against a Trump administration policy allowing pork plants to run slaughter line speeds as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria.

As the first U.S. pork company to invest in machinery to run line speeds faster under the rule, Seaboard stands to lose from the decision. The Biden administration has sought to emphasize worker safety and is not expected to challenge the court.

Seaboard sped up its Guymon, Oklahoma, facility last year. Workers told Reuters the faster line speeds increased injuries at the plant.

A lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union had challenged the 2019 rule over concerns about worker safety.

A judge in U.S. District Court in Minnesota invalidated the rule on March 31 but stayed the decision for 90 days to give companies and the Biden administration time to adapt.

Seaboard said in court filings on Friday it will need 313 days more to clear out excess hogs from its production process if the company is required to revert to slower processing speeds.

 

 

February exports of U.S. beef and pork remained below the rapid pace established in early 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections and the federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected to narrowly surpass the 2020 record.

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons (mt) in February, down 8% from a year ago, valued at $669.5 million (down 2%). This was due mainly to a decline in variety meat exports, as beef muscle cuts were steady with last year in value at $597.9 million on a volume of 82,530 mt (down 3%). Through February, beef exports were 5% below last year’s pace at 208,540 mt, valued at $1.32 billion (down 2%). Beef muscle cut exports were down 1% to 163,928 mt and steady in value at $1.18 billion. Beef exports to South Korea are off to a very strong start in 2021 and demand for U.S. beef continues to grow in China, capitalizing on access gains achieved in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement.

February pork exports were down 12% from a year ago at 239,240 mt, valued at $629.4 million (down 13%). For muscle cuts only, exports fell by the same percentages to 203,526 mt valued at $548 million. Through February, pork exports were 11% below last year’s pace at 487,896 mt, valued at $1.27 billion (down 13%). Pork muscle cut exports were also down 11% to 411,760 mt, valued at $1.1 billion (down 14%). February pork exports set new records in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica and were very strong to the Philippines and Colombia. As anticipated, pork exports to China/Hong Kong trended lower than the enormous volumes shipped in 2020 but the region continues to be the largest destination for U.S. pork.

Fueled by larger variety meat shipments to Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong, February exports of U.S. lamb increased 142% from a year ago to 1,152 mt, with value up 19% to $1.6 million. Through February, lamb exports were up 52% from a year ago to 2,179 mt but value fell 19% to $2.8 million.

“While February exports were in line with expectations, the results don’t fully reflect global demand for U.S. red meat,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Logistical challenges, including congestion at some U.S. ports, are still a significant headwind and tight labor supplies at the plant level continue to impact export volumes for certain products – including some variety meat items and labor-intensive muscle cuts.”

Halstrom notes that the flow of exports through U.S. ports is showing some gradual improvement as COVID-impacted crews move closer to full strength, but remains a serious concern for the U.S. agricultural sector.

“USMEF greatly appreciates the members of Congress and ag industry representatives who have worked to bring more attention to this situation, and the efforts of maritime regulators to address shipping practices,” he said.

Export demand has remained solid despite logistical challenges and other pandemic-related obstacles. Continued international demand, along with robust domestic business, contributed to stronger cutout values in the first quarter, which were up an average of 27% year-over-year for pork (nearly $90/cwt) and 4% for Choice beef ($224/cwt).

 

 

To combat rising pork prices and stabilize supplies, the Philippine government announced today it will provide more market access for pork imports. Securing better access to the Philippines market has been a top, long-term trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“Since 2019, the Philippines has been battling African swine fever (ASF), and as a result, domestic production has declined, supplies have tightened, and pork prices have spiked,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “While we are saddened by the spread of ASF in the Philippines, we appreciate the opportunity to send more high-quality U.S. pork to ease the shortage and the spike in prices.”

Under today’s announcement, beginning April 7, tariffs for imported pork under the increased minimum access volume (MAV) of 404,210 metric tons (MT) would be reduced from 30 percent to five percent for the next three months, and then 10 percent thereafter. Tariffs for imported pork above the MAV would be reduced from 40 percent to 15 percent for the next three months, and then increase to 20 percent thereafter. The reductions would be in effect for one year.

This announcement comes on the heels of NPPC’s meeting with the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez. NPPC has been pressing both the U.S. and Philippines governments to lower pork import tariffs since ASF outbreaks began in the Philippines.

From January-December 2020, the U.S. exported 49,660 MT of pork worth $121 million to the country. The expanded market access is expected to generate significantly more U.S. pork exports to the country. With a population of 109 million and pork as the preferred protein of choice, pork consumption will continue to increase as the economy grows.

The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing economic region of the world with significant opportunities for U.S. pork exports. NPPC will continue to advocate for the United States to rejoin the CPTPP trade agreement.