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Dramatic Increase in Iowa Pork Exports

by 5m Editor
12 September 2008, at 8:48am

IOWA - U.S. pork exports have risen each of the past 16 years and Iowa has been the leading pork exporting state for many of those years. If the latest state export statistics are any indication, Iowa’s standing will not change and the U.S. will set another pork export record in 2008.

The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) says new U.S. Bureau of the Census pork export totals for the first half of the year show that Iowa fresh and frozen pork exports are at more than $390 million, an increase of nearly 57 percent over the same six-month period in 2007. When edible pork offal products such as stomachs, intestines and hearts are included, the total increases to more than $433 million.

For the second quarter of 2008, exports of fresh and frozen Iowa pork were up 110 percent and pork offal products increased a whopping 178 percent from the same period in 2007.

So, why such a dramatic increase in exports from the nation’s leading pork producing state?


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"Worldwide demand for pork is strong and with a soft U.S. dollar, Iowa pork is a great value in the international market. Iowa produces high quality [pork] products and producers have a commitment to meeting customers’ needs."
Mark Fischer, IDED’s meat, livestock and genetics marketing manager

“Worldwide demand for pork is strong and with a soft U.S. dollar, Iowa pork is a great value in the international market,” said Mark Fischer, IDED’s meat, livestock and genetics marketing manager. “Iowa produces high quality [pork] products and producers have a commitment to meeting customers’ needs.

Since Iowa is the leading pork producing state and markets more hogs than any other state, the numbers may not seem that significant to most, but Fischer disagrees.

“It’s easy to increase percentages when you start with a low number, but in this case, we’re talking about some very high numbers and for the exports in Iowa to increase by more than 100 percent, that’s phenomenal for any period of time,” Fischer said.

For the period Jan. 1 through June 30, 2008, most of Iowa’s pork was sold and shipped to four countries. Japan is far and away the leader, importing 48 percent of Iowa’s pork. Korea and Canada are each at 13 percent and Russia is importing 10 percent of the state’s product. Canada’s percentage is significant in that its purchases have increased from $12 million in 2007 to $50 million this year, a 300 percent increase. Overall, Iowa exports pork to 27 countries.

“This means very good news for Iowa and the pork producing sector,” Fischer said. “At a time of increased production from the swine sector, finding new outlets and creating new demand for pork products creates good opportunities for everyone within the pork industry.”

Because of the prevalence of exporting companies in California, the “Golden State” is the second leading pork exporting state. Nebraska is third, North Carolina is fourth and Illinois fifth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

5m Editor