When it comes to U.S. pork exports, 2011 will be a year for the record books. While strong export results through the first 10 months had increased the likelihood of 2011 setting a record, November’s results reported by the U.S. Meat Export Federation have clinched it.

U.S. pork exports in November, valued at $597.85 million, have boosted the January-November 2011value total to $5.52 billion, up 27 percent over the 2010 total. This puts total export value, which had never cleared the $5 billion mark, on pace to approach $6 billion in 2011.

According to statistics compiled by USMEF, November pork exports totaled 217,080 metric tons, up 22.5 percent over November 2010. The achievement helped offset record-high production and provide a significant boost to pork cutout values.

November pork exports (including variety meat) equated to nearly 29 percent of total production. In terms of muscle cuts only, exports still totaled 24 percent of total production. Export value per head slaughtered set a new monthly record at $59.98, which was $15 higher than a year ago.

Export value for the January through November period averaged $55.21 per head, compared to $43.72 per head a year ago.

U.S. pork continues to perform remarkably well in Japan, with November results up 6 percent in volume and 17 percent in value over a year ago. For January-November, exports to Japan totaled 451,509 metric tons, nearly matching the 2008 volume record of 451,853 metric tons. Export value reached $1.79 billion, easily setting a new record and setting the stage for a year-end value total that could approach the $2 billion mark.

“USMEF has continued to market U.S. pork aggressively in Japan, because we know this it is a valuable and fiercely competitive market,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “When we first broke the $1 billion barrier in 2005, some speculated that this market may have peaked. It shows just how vital Japan is to the bottom line of the U.S. industry.”

November exports were also bolstered by strong results in the China/Hong Kong region, which set another monthly record at 66,993 metric tons valued at $140.2 million. For the year, export value to this region nearly doubled to $794.6 million.

Pork exports to South Korea continued to build on a record year, with November results nearly doubling in value over the prior year to $35.6 million. For the year, exports to Korea have soared by 176 percent to $453.7 million.

Mexico remains the leading volume destination for U.S. pork reaching 477,221 metric tons for the January through November period. For November, export value to Mexico remained steady at $94.7 million. Export value for the year reached $925.3 million, up 4 percent from 2010’s record pace, and by year’s end may break $1 billion for the first time.

November results pushed pork exports to Canada for the January through November period to a new value record $673.8 million, up 20 percent over the year ago period.

U.S. beef exports are also performing well reaching 105,268 metric tons in November valued at $456.25 million. Japan was the leading value destination for U.S. beef for the month at $85.3 million, up nearly 40 percent from a year ago. When December results become available, beef export value will eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.

Complete 2011 export statistics through November are available online.

Source: USMEF