WASHINGTON – US beef and pork exports were lower in August compared to a year ago, according to data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

US beef exports in August were 14 percent below August 2011 volume, but were the second-largest of the year at 100,468 metric tons, according to USMEF. The value of beef exports dipped 5 percent, but was the second-highest monthly total of 2012 at $486.2 million. For the first eight months of the year, the volume of beef exports declined 11 percent compared to the same year-ago period, but were two percent above the 2011 record value pace at $3.66 billion.

August US pork exports declined 6 percent in volume to 175,310 metric tons, and 7 percent in value to $495.5 million, USMEF said. But the totals for volume and value were 10 percent and 6 percent higher compared to July. Pork exports gained 2 percent in volume to 1.474 million metric tons and 8 percent in value to total $4.13 billion in the first eight months of 2012.

“We face a challenging business climate in several key markets, with rising production costs and slowing economic growth creating some anxiety among buyers,” said Philip Seng, president and CEO of USMEF. “We’re also seeing a surge in domestic meat supplies in some areas, particularly in South Korea. But the commitment to enhancing global demand for US beef and pork remains very strong, as evidenced by the terrific support of our producer organizations.

"These are the circumstances in which effective global marketing takes on an even greater level of importance, as producers need to maximize the value of every cut and every carcass,” he added.