February Red Meat Exports Trail 2020; Outlook Still Strong in 2021


U.S. beef and pork exports in February remained behind the rapid pace set in early 2020. However, USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections. The federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected should narrowly surpass the 2020 record.

Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons in February, down eight percent from a year ago and valued at $669.5 million. Through February, beef exports trailed last year’s pace by five percent at 208,540 metric tons. Beef exports to South Korea are off to a strong start in 2021, and demand for U.S. beef continues to grow in China. February pork exports were down 12 percent compared to last year at 239,240 metric tons, valued at $629.4 million. Through February, pork exports were 11 percent lower than last year’s pace. Pork exports set new records in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. February exports of U.S. lamb, helped by larger variety meat shipments to Mexico, Canada, and Hong Kong, increased 142 percent from last year to 1,152 metric tons, with the value up 19 percent to $1.6 million.