Pork exports continue to grow at an amazing rate. According to Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economist, the August 2005 growth was 29.6 percent compared to the same time last year. For January-August 2005, pork exports are up 26.5 percent. “It now looks like we may exceed the 2004 total by the end of October,” says Grimes. “This will be the fourteenth consecutive year for record high exports.”

On the production side, January-August pork exports amounted to more than 13 percent of U.S. production. During this same time, net pork exports were 8.16 percent of production---up 3.28 percent of production from 12 months earlier.

The strong exports are good news for the industry with live hog prices for January-September averaging 0.6 percent below a year earlier. For September, live hog prices were almost 10 percent below a year earlier. “With slaughter for September near last year’s levels, it’s quite obvious that the demand for live hogs was down from a year earlier,” says Grimes. “The good news is that demand for live hogs in September was still substantially above two years earlier.”

He believes that odds are high that hog prices will go lower in November. With the lower live hog prices and higher retail prices, it’s imperative that the U.S. pork industry continue to keep exports strong.