Pork producers indirectly helped export 42 million bushels of corn and 10 million bushels of soybeans in 1996, according to University of Tennessee Agricultural Policy Analysis Center report. The corn and soybeans were fed to U.S. hogs, producing 951 million pounds of pork exported to other countries.

In 1996, pork exports accounted for 1.7 percent of total corn exports, while soybeans accounted for 1.1 percent. Predictions for 1998 show a rise to 2.9 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

The concept of adding value to grain by feeding it to livestock is not new. The Tennessee report suggests grain prices are at least somewhat controlled by meat exports.

“If meat exports are expanding, and the grain used to produce meat exports already equals 10 percent of our total corn and soybean exports, then one way to increase grains’ market share is to improve livestock export markets,” the report states.

More than $1 billion of U.S. pork products were exported in 1996, says Steve Meyer, National Pork Producers Council director of economics. This makes the United States the second largest pork exporter in the world.