DENVER — During November, U.S. beef and pork exports continued their rebound from the slump earlier in the year, with pork exports reaching their highest level of 2009 while beef exports edged 4% above year-ago levels, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (U.S.M.E.F.). Lamb exports also maintained their pace for an outstanding year.

Total pork (muscle cuts plus variety meat) exports for November reached 169,547 metric tons (373.8 million lbs.) – essentially even with the volume for November during the record-shattering pace of 2008. This marked the first time monthly pork exports have reached or exceeded 2008 levels since March of 2009.

Total beef exports for the month reached 76,693 metric tons (169 million lbs.), with muscle cuts up 23% over year-ago levels while variety meat slipped 27%.

Although the export increase is a positive sign that economic indicators internationally are pointing up, total U.S. beef and pork exports remain behind 2008 levels. For the first 11 months of 2009, the U.S. has exported 819,778 metric tons (1.8 billion lbs.) of beef valued at more than $2.8 billion and 1.7 million metric tons (3.7 billion lbs.) of pork valued at nearly $4 billion.

Beef is down 10% in volume and 16% in value compared to 2008 while pork is down 10% in volume and 13% in value.

Lamb and lamb variety meat exports earned a 41% increase in volume over November of 2008 accompanied by a 14.7% boost in value. For the first 11 months of the year, total lamb exports are up 50% in volume and 13% in value. Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean rank first, second and third in U.S. lamb export volume while the Caribbean holds the top spot for lamb export value.

“We are devoting significant resources to pork marketing this quarter with the support of $1.35 million in additional funding from the soybean industry at the end of 2009,” said Philip Seng, U.S.M.E.F. president and chief executive officer. “The response from the soybean industry to support pork exports is very gratifying,” he added, referring to the “2009 Pork Stimulus Package” funded by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, United Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.