Perhaps the best news for the U.S. meat industry is what’s happening to exports. The combination of a plentiful supply and a weak U.S. dollar means meat exports are expanding rapidly. During 2008’s first two months, pork exports were up 40.9 percent compared to January/February 2007 and 53.5 percent higher than at the start of 2006. For the fourth consecutive year, the United States will likely be the world’s largest pork exporter. 

Compared to 12 months earlier, January/February beef exports were up 32.8 percent, broiler exports were up 13.2 percent, and turkey exports were up 19.6 percent. USDA expects all four major meats to end the year with higher export volumes than in 2007. Even so, U.S. per-capita meat and poultry consumption is expected to set a new record in 2008. The question is at what price?