An analysis of U.S. trade data was provided at this year's National Pork Industry Forum in Orlando, Fla. Phil Seng, chief executive officer with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, estimates that 2004 pork exports rose 27 percent to a total of 2.179 billion pounds (carcass-weight equivalent), up 462.8 million pounds from 2003, making 2004 the 13th consecutive year for record exports.

“U.S. pork exports topped 2 billion pounds on a carcass-weight basis for the first time ever last year,” said Glenn Grimes, a University of Missouri agricultural economist. “Pork checkoff-funded promotions are helping build demand for pork products all over the world.”

Japan, Mexico and Canada were the top three foreign destinations for U.S. Pork, with 42.2 percent, 24.6 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively. Compared with 2003, Japan purchased 16 percent more U.S. pork in 2004, Mexico purchased 53 percent more and Canada purchased 21 percent more. 

“Last year was the best one for pork producers since 1990,”said Grimes. “A combination of records were set in the areas of production, slaughter and cut-out values, resulting in the highest hog prices since 1990.”

Total U.S. pork industry revenues amounted to almost an extra $1.2 billion for producers during last year. Profits from foreign trade exceeded $1 billion for pork and pork byproducts.

Seng pointed out that the three biggest months for pork exports were in the last quarter of 2004. Grimes predicts continued export success for pork this year. 

National Pork Board