Strong June results capped a tremendous first half of 2018 for U.S. beef exports. That’s according to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. June pork exports were lower than a year ago for the second straight month, but first-half volume and value remained ahead of last year’s pace. Beef muscle cut exports set a new volume record in June, coming in at 90,745 metric tons, 15 percent higher than in 2017. By adding in variety meat, total beef export volume was more than 115,000 metric tons. That’s six percent higher than 2017 and valued at $718 million dollars. International customers bought a larger share of beef production, even at higher prices, which indicates strong demand. After setting a new record in April, pork export volume has trended lower the past two months, mainly due to a drop in exports to the China/Hong Kong region. June pork exports totaled 191,303 metric tons, 4.5 percent lower than last year. The USMEF says pork exports face a challenging environment in China and Hong Kong. It’s not just because of retaliatory tariffs, but also because China is increasing domestic production.