USMEF: Study Shows How Corn and Soybean Producers Benefit from U.S. Red Meat Exports

U.S. beef and pork exports brought critical returns to the corn and soybean industries in 2020, according to an independent study conducted by World Perspectives, Inc. and released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). According to the study, U.S. beef and pork exports added 41 cents per bushel to the value of corn and $1.06 per bushel to soybeans in 2020.

Dean Meyer

“As the study indicates, my farm gains from red meat exports in the price of every acre of crops that we grow,” says Dean Meyer, who produces corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs near Rock Rapids, Iowa. “Red meat exports are vital to my family’s operation.”

Corn and soybean producers support the international promotion of U.S. pork, beef and lamb by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF. This funding is leveraged with support from pork and beef checkoff programs and USDA.

Meyer also highlights the industry-wide collaboration behind the promotion of value-added U.S. red meat in international markets. “Something else this study points to is how different sectors of U.S. agriculture can work together to benefit the industry as a whole.” With such collaboration, Meyer adds, “there is great potential for U.S. agriculture on the world stage.”

Key findings from the study, which utilizes 2020 export data, include:

Value of Red Meat Exports’ Feed Use of Soybeans and Corn in 2020

  • U.S. pork exports used 2.45 million tons of soybean meal, which is the equivalent of 103.2 million bushels of soybeans. At an average annual price of $8.98/bushel, pork exports accounted for $927 million in market value to the soybean industry.
  • Beef and pork exports used 530.5 million bushels of corn. At an average annual price of $3.52/bushel, beef and pork exports accounted for $1.87 billion in market value to the corn industry.
  • Beef and pork exports also used 3.03 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) at an annual average price of $154.59/ton, generating $468 million in market value for ethanol mills’ co-products.

Value to U.S. Corn and Soybean Crop from Red Meat Exports

  • In 2020, beef and pork exports contributed 41 cents per bushel, or 11.5% of the average annual price of $3.52/bushel. With total production of 14.18 billion bushels, the value of red meat exports to the U.S. corn crop was $5.8 billion, meaning corn growers would have lost $5.8 billion in value if there were no beef and pork exports.
  • In 2020, pork exports contributed $1.06 per bushel, or 12% of the average annual price of $8.98/bushel. With total production of 4.14 billion bushels, the value of pork exports was $4.4 billion to the U.S. soybean crop, meaning soybean producers would have lost $4.4 billion in value if there were no pork exports.
Mark Legan

“USMEF’s efforts to promote U.S. red meat in international markets have paid off for producers, whether they raise livestock or grow corn and soybeans – or, like me, they do both,” says Mark Legan, a hog farmer from Coatesville, Ind. “The study adds numbers to the story – a story those of us in this business have been telling for a long time – that global trade is vital to all of us involved in U.S. agriculture.”

Handouts detailing the impact of red meat exports at the national level and on the leading corn-producing and soybean-producing states are available from the USMEF website.

For questions or interviews on this topic, please email Rod Manuel or call 303-210-3501.

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.

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.