Building exports remains important strategy for pork industry

CALIFORNIA - Here's an amazing fact - U.S. exports of pork have nearly doubled in five years.
calendar icon 19 March 2007
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Keeping export customers happy and increasing the growth of pork exports is a continuing goal, and a priority for the National Pork Board.

“Exports by their very nature generate extra revenue for the whole production team,” said Hugh Dorminy, an Arkansas pork producer and chair of National Pork Board International Trade. “It's clear that exports are necessary for the prosperity of our industry.”

Japan is the largest U.S. pork consumer, purchasing nearly 34 percent of U.S. exports in 2006. Mexico is second and Canada is third in tonnage purchased from the United States.

“Without exports, we're restricted to population growth and whatever we can do to compete on domestic demand,” said Dorminy.

A data analysis conducted by the Pork Checkoff and University of Missouri shows impressive changes in U.S. pork exports over the past 21 years.

U.S. pork exports have increased from 86 million pounds carcass weight equivalent in 1986 to 3 billion pounds in 2006.

“The growth of exports is good news for pork producers,” said Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri economist, and one of three economists who conducted the analysis.

The value of pork and pork byproducts obtained from exports increased from $1.97/hog in 1986 to $27.34/hog harvested in 2006.

Pork variety meat in 2006 made up about $3 of that $27.34/hog export value.

“There are countries that will pay surprising amounts of money for meat that you couldn't give away here in the U.S.,” Dorminy said. “That's extra revenue and that growth is critical for the growth and prosperity of the industry.”

Three groups work together to promote pork exports. The National Pork Board supports trade with checkoff dollars, the National Pork Producers Council provides trade relations, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation serves as the general contractor providing in-country staff.

“You have to be impressed with USMEF staff in the countries,” said Dorminy. “Their passion is to sell our product.”

The University of Missouri study indicates that total income of all U.S. pork producers has been improved by $7.4 billion over the last 21 years.

Source: Minnesota Farm Guide

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