USMEF Weekly Audio: Wide Range of Markets, Strong Variety Meat Demand Drive Record Month for Red Meat Exports

U.S. beef and pork exports set new value records in May, according to the latest data released by USDA. Beef exports topped $900 million for the first time ($904.3 million) while also setting a new volume record at 133,440 metric tons (mt). Pork exports exceeded $800 million for the first time at $813.2 million, while volume was the third largest on record at 283,617 mt.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom notes that record-large exports to South Korea set the pace for U.S. beef, along with strong performances in Japan, China and Latin America. Exports to Japan bounced back from the impact of a higher safeguard tariff rate imposed from mid-March to mid-April.

Pork exports increased from year-ago levels despite a significant drop in exports to China, where domestic pork production is rebounding from the effects of African swine fever (ASF) and demand for imported pork is trending lower. Halstrom explains that strong growth to Mexico, Japan, Central America, Colombia and the Philippines more than offset the decline to China, underscoring the importance of export market diversification.

Strong variety meat demand also helped drive exports to new heights in May. In recent months the tight labor situation at processing plants has made capturing and exporting variety meat items more challenging, and this remains a significant concern for the U.S. industry. But in May, pork variety meat exports jumped 42% from a year ago to 50,000 mt, with value reaching nearly $125 million (up 62%). Beef variety meat exports were the largest since 2019 at 28,347 mt, up 65% from a year ago. Export value was $91.3 million, up 72% and the third highest on record. 

USMEF President and CEO Dan HalstromWide Range of Markets, Strong Variety Meat Demand Drive Record Month for Red Meat Exports

The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider. 

Submitted to the BARN by:

Joe Schuele

Vice President, Communications

U.S. Meat Export Federation

303-547-0030 (mobile)

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.