U.S. pork exports reached the highest volume ever in 2017 with sales to more than 100 countries around the world, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation today.
Pork exports totaled 2.45 million mt in 2017, breaking the 2016 record by 6 percent. Export value was $6.49 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year and the second-highest on record, trailing only 2014 ($6.65 billion).
For December only, pork export value was up 5 percent from a year ago to $591.1 million. This was the second-highest total of 2017, trailing only the record value achieved in November ($615.8 million). December volume was down 1 percent from a year ago to 219,809 mt.
Pork variety meats were 2017’s shining star. Exports tied the 2011 record, with 82 percent of edible variety meat exported. Pork variety meat exports totaled $1.17 billion, setting a new total value record and surpassing $1 billion for the first time. China and Mexico combined to account for 86 percent of U.S. pork variety meat exports. In 2017, total edible pork variety meat exports added $9.67 in value to every hog marketed, according to USMEF.
“Heading into 2017, we knew U.S. pork production would be record-large and that the industry would be counting more than ever on export growth to support hog prices and sustain profitability,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Our international pork customers really stepped up to the plate, and USMEF helped the industry meet their needs through new product development, consumer education and outreach and by creating opportunities for customers to meet with U.S. suppliers. The new volume record for pork is impressive, but it’s important to note that export value increased at an even more rapid pace, which confirms that international demand is robust and that exports deliver a strong return.”
Pork exports accounted for 26.6 percent of total production in 2017 and 22.3 percent for muscle cuts only, each up nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. Pork export value averaged $53.47 per head slaughtered, up 6 percent from 2016.
Strong demand for U.S. hams set the pace for the sixth consecutive volume record for pork exports to Mexico at 801,887 mt, up 10 percent year-over-year. Export value reached $1.51 billion – up 12 percent and the second-highest on record, trailing only 2014 ($1.56 billion).
Per capita pork consumption in Mexico has grown by about one-third over the past 10 years and now stands at 18 kilograms. This rapid growth has been bolstered by USMEF’s trade education and outreach efforts and continuous engagement with Mexico’s importers, distributors and processors, as well as duty-free access under NAFTA.