DENVER – Beef export value recorded another high in Nov. 2021, topping $1 billion for the second time last year, according to data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) from the US Department of Agriculture.

Monthly volume of pork exports were lower than a year ago, but year-to-date export value maintained a record pace of more than $7.5 billion.

“With one month of results still to be tabulated, it’s very gratifying to see red meat exports setting new annual records and achieving remarkable growth over a wide range of markets,” said Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF. “It is important, however, that we do not take this success for granted or allow it to detract from the challenges facing US agriculture. Global demand for US red meat has never been stronger, but labor and transportation obstacles and high input costs across the supply chain make it increasingly difficult to satisfy this demand.” 

Total beef exports for the month of November came in at 123,641 tonnes with export volume up 7% from a year ago and the fourth largest monthly volume in the post BSE-era. The export value hit a record $1.05 billion for beef and increased 49% from 2020. This exceeded the previous high from Aug. 2021. 

The first 11 months of beef exports reached 1.32 million tonnes, a 16% spike from last year. Export value also increased by more than $2.5 billion, up 39%, from 2020 to $9.59 billion.

For pork exports, volume dropped 8% from a year ago to 237,547 tonnes as export value reached $658.3 million, down 6% compared to the same month last year. Through 11 months, pork export volume fell slightly behind the 2020 pace at 2.7 million tonnes. However, export value stood at $7.5 billion, up 7% from a year ago and rapidly approaching the annual record ($7.71 billion) set in 2020. 

“USMEF greatly appreciates the effort by lawmakers, maritime regulators and other officials to address the persistent congestion at US ports, but this continues to be a costly and frustrating situation for US exporters and their international customers,” Halstrom said.

Beef exports to China/Hong Kong continue to increase in 2021. Through November exports topped 219,264 tonnes a 98% increase from 2020. Export value is also at $1.9 billion which is up 125%. Direct exports to China, bolstered by greatly improved market access achieved in the US-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, increased more than 400% from a year ago to 172,257 mt, valued at $1.43 billion (up 502%).

For November, Mexican pork exports remained strong at 87,440 up from 34% in 2020. Export was valued at $152.1 million which is up 59%.

Pork exports to Japan in November was at 32,844 tonnes which were slightly down. Value still increased slightly to $146.7 million.  

Demand for US pork continues to surge in Central America, where exports had already set new annual volume and value records through October. In November, led by strong growth in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica, exports climbed 30% to 13,887 mt, valued at $39.8 million (up 49%). 

Lamb exports showed January-November exports 8% above 2020 pace at 12,440 tonnes, which put value up 17% to $18 million.