Among rising U.S. meat exports, pork has the highest value

A chart showing U.S. meat export values, years 1989 to 2011.

U.S. meat exports began to accelerate in the mid-1980s, and U.S. meat producers have become major players in rapidly expanding world meat markets. On a quantity basis, the greatest gains in U.S. meat exports since the 1980s have been in U.S. poultry exports. However, U.S. pork exports have posted the largest gains, in terms of export value, over the same time period and since 2008 have been the highest valued of U.S. meat exports. Beef was for many years the top U.S. meat export because it is, by far, the highest priced meat. The value of beef exports hit a record $3.2 billion in 2003 before dropping in response to the discovery of BSE, and then recovering. Until 2003, the value of beef exports had generally exceeded the value of pork and broiler meat exports as technical and organizational changes-feeding patterns, animal genetics, and industry structure, for example-exerted downward pressure on the prices of these meats relative to beef. Pork, in turn, is relatively higher priced than broiler meat, and the value of pork exports recently surpassed that of broilers as the quantity of pork exports has grown. This chart is an update of one found in the Animal Production & Marketing Issues topic on the ERS website.

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