While May was expected to be the month in which U.S. pork exports were most affected by A-H1N1 influenza, the impact has not been as negative as some analysts had predicted, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. In addition, U.S. beef exports for the first five months of 2009 remain roughly on par with 2008.
May pork plus pork variety meat exports totaled 316.8 million pounds valued at $342.6 million. This is down 9 percent in value and 9.5 percent in volume from April, and down a substantial 24 percent in value and 27 percent in volume compared to May 2008. But spring of 2008 was a historic high point for U.S. pork exports, and a repeat of those results was not anticipated.
When compared to May 2007, pork exports in May 2009 actually increased 43 percent in volume and 36 percent in value, and surpassed the volume and value achieved in any single month of that year. For the first five months of 2009, exports are down 4 percent in volume to 1.7 billion pounds and 1 percent in value to $1.8 billion from the same period last year.
“Certainly we don’t like to see a decline in pork exports for any reason,” said USMEF Chairman Jon Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa. “But considering the blow we were dealt by A-H1N1 influenza, on top of an already shaky global economy, the May results were not as lackluster as some had feared.”