March 28, 2024

Interpretive Summary: January US meat export data released

January US meat export data released 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the January 2024 export data, which was compiled by the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork and lamb exports were high for January, while beef exports were slightly down. Export value is trending significantly higher than the previous year. 

USMEF represents beef and veal producers and feeders, pork producers and feeders, lamb producers, and feeders, packers, and processors, purveyors and traders, oilseeds producers, feedgrains producers, farm organizations, and supply and service organizations. The goal of USMEF is to increase the value and profit opportunities for the U.S. beef, pork, and lamb industries by enhancing demand in export markets through a coordinated and collaborative partnership of all stakeholders. As a cooperator with the USDA, USMEF also funds through the Market Access, Emerging Market, and Foreign Market Development programs.

“While USMEF expects 2024 to be another challenging year in terms of beef supply availability, the upward trend in export value is a positive sign,” USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said. “The inventory has been cleared and customers in Asia are reloading on U.S. beef. There is also more optimism in Asia’s foodservice sector, especially in Korea. Combined with the recent strength we’ve seen in the Western Hemisphere, this bodes well for beef demand in the coming year. January was also an excellent month for beef variety meat exports, which are especially important for maximizing the value of every animal.”

Although January pork exports were led by another powerful performance in the leading market Mexico, U.S. pork continued to make gains in a wide range of Western Hemisphere and Asia-Pacific destinations. Pork exports totaled 251,424 metric tons (mt) in January, up 6% from a year ago, while export value also increased 6% to $682.1 million. January beef exports totaled 99,764 mt, down 1% from a year ago. But export value climbed 9% to $763.8 million, as value trended higher year-over-year to South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and Hong Kong.

“Mexico’s demand for U.S. pork is so spectacular that it tends to overshadow other great success stories,” said Halstrom. “It is especially gratifying to see other markets following the trail blazed by Mexico, as purchases expand beyond raw material for further processing to include center-of-the-plate cuts, including loins, which are gaining popularity at retail and foodservice.”

January exports of U.S. lamb were the largest in 10 months and the highest value since 2019. The totaled 303 mt, up 28% from a year ago and the largest since March. Export value increased 53% to $1.7 million, the highest monthly value since December 2019. Export growth was led by the Caribbean (156 mt, up 97%, valued at just under $1 million, up 60%) and Canada (24 mt valued at $264,000, each up nearly 400%). Although shipments to Mexico were lower than a year ago (105 mt, down 19%), value still increased 12% to $316,000.

Check out the complete January 2024 exports report here, as well as past reports and future updates.