U.S. Pork Producers Can Be Proud of Export Efforts

US - Keith Belk calls agricultural exports from the United States "one of the bright spots" in the nation's agriculture industry today. And, he says, "The pork industry in particular has something to be proud of."
calendar icon 7 July 2006
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Belk, a meat scientist at Colorado State University, addressed producers at the PORK Academy held in conjunction with World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month. He told producers that U.S. pork exports have seen steady growth the past several years and that the outlook for pork exports remains good.

"There've been dramatic increases in pork exports from the United States over the last 15 years," Belk said. "The U.S. pork industry has done an excellent job of promoting its product to foreign markets, and the industry as a whole needs to be applauded for this."

From 1991 to 2005, annual U.S. pork exports have grown from less than 200,000 metric tons valued at about $400 million to more than 1,150,000 metric tons worth more than $2.5 billion. For 2006, U.S. pork exports are expected to top 1.3 million metric tons, Belk said. At that level, exports will account for about 13 percent of U.S. pork production, making exports an extremely important part of the industry's welfare.

Contributing to the recent increase in demand for U.S. pork from other nations is an overall population growth as well as increasing income among many populations. With only 4.6 percent of the world's population living in the United States - or about 298 million of the 6.5 billion people worldwide - more than 95 percent of potential pork consumers reside in foreign countries.

"That's where the most growth potential resides for U.S. pork," Belk said of foreign markets. "We have a great opportunity to sell more pork, especially to countries where income is increasing."

Part of foreign countries' increasing interest in U.S. pork the last several years has also resulted from concerns over the safety of beef and chicken worldwide.

Source: Livestock Roundup
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