January Red Meat Exports Below Year-Ago Levels Amid Transportation, Labor Challenges


U.S. beef and pork exports opened 2021 below the large volumes posted a year ago, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports totaled 105,000 metric tons in January, down two percent from a year ago, while value slipped three percent to $653 million.

The decline was mainly due to lower beef variety meat shipments, as muscle cut exports were steady and accounted for a larger share of production than a year ago. January beef exports were strong to South Korea and continued to gain momentum in China. Following a down year in 2020, exports also rebounded to the Middle East. January pork exports totaled 248,600 metric tons, down nine percent from a year ago but slightly above USMEF’s projections. Export value was down 13 percent to $642.8 million. Pork muscle cut exports were down 11 percent in volume and 15 percent in value, while pork variety meat shipments trended modestly higher than a year ago.