Mexico Drives Torrid Beef Export Pace
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U.S. Remains on Track for Record-Breaking Year
Led by a the continued rebound of beef exports to Mexico, 2011 remains on pace to set new annual records for the value of beef exports, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
September results show beef exports up 27.3 percent in volume and 35.9 percent in value, compared to the same month in 2010. For the month, exports accounted for 14.4 percent of total beef and beef variety meat production and $212.64 in per-head value of fed cattle, up from 11 percent of production and $151 in value per head last year.
“This year has presented opportunities for the U.S. red meat industry to expand exports, and the beef industry has worked aggressively to capitalize on those opportunities,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “The premiums that international buyers pay for U.S. beef are critical to the bottom line of U.S. producers.”
U.S. beef exports hit 241.9 million pounds (a 27.3 percent increase) valued at $461 million (a 35.9 percent increase) in September. For the year, exports stand at 2.13 billion pounds valued at $4 billion, increases of 26 percent and 39 percent, respectively, over the first nine months of 2010.
Beef exports were paced by Mexico, which purchased 44.6 million pounds valued at $86.8 million, up 14 percent and 37 percent, respectively, from September 2010.
The Middle East was the second-largest volume destination for the month, importing a record-high 38.8 million pounds valued at $35.6 million. Both represented an increase of roughly 59 percent over year-earlier totals. Egypt remains the largest importer in the region, but growth is seen in both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well.
Monthly exports to Canada were the lowest since March, but remained 12 percent higher in volume and 19 percent in value versus last September, reaching 32.1 million pounds valued at $78.2 million. Canada was the second-largest value and third-largest volume destination for U.S. beef during the month.
While off the pace of earlier in 2011, beef exports to Japan and South Korea were up year-on-year. Japan imported nearly 26.9 million pounds of U.S. beef, valued at $69.5 million (up 7.4 percent in volume and 18.1 percent in value), while Korean imports reached 19.9 million pounds valued at $42.2 million (up 9.5 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively).
“We are encouraged by the growing confidence level we are seeing among consumers in both Japan and Korea regarding U.S. beef,” said Seng. “In recent years, we were seeing lingering concerns related to BSE, but the ‘We Care’ campaign in Japan and the ‘To Trust’ campaign mounted in Korea have garnered consumer support.”
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The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.