Exports more important to pork than to beef or chicken

Hog Outlook: Hereís why U.S. pork prices depend heavily on exports.


Jim Mintert, NebraskaFarmer

Oct 06, 2021


Mintert is a Purdue University ag economist and director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture.


Itís no surprise that exports are an important market outlet for U.S. pork production. Did you know that exports are more important to the pork industry than they are to either the beef or poultry industry?


U.S. exports of pork, beef and poultry all began to increase significantly starting in the mid-1980s and have grown sharply since then. For many years, however, pork exports expressed as a share of total U.S. pork production were smaller than either beef exports or poultry exports as a share of their respective production.


That began to change just after the turn of the century as pork exports began to grow rapidly. The share of U.S. pork exported has exceeded that of beef every year since 2003 and has exceeded poultry for over a decade.


Through July of this year, 27% of U.S. pork production was exported, up from 26% in 2020 and 23% in 2019. In comparison, combined exports of chicken and turkey during January through July 2021 totaled 17% of poultry production, while beef exports equated to just 12% of U.S. beef production.


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