2019 beef exports number trail record-high of 2018

The last year marked the second-higher year for U.S. beef export value, trailing only the 2018 record of $8.33 billion.

Amanda Radke

January 14, 2020

4 Min Read
Customers sample U.S. beef at Tokyo supermarket USMEF_0.jpg

President Donald Trump is slated to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention. This will be his third time addressing farmers and ranchers at this event, and while there are certainly producers who either passionately love him or vehemently hate him, one thing I think “The Donald” could lead with in his keynote address is the export wins agriculture has achieved during his time in office.

According to a recent news release from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the beef industry is trending toward reaching new export records in Japan, South Korea and Mexico.

The USMEF reports that January-November highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

  • In Mexico, the third-largest market for U.S. beef behind Japan and Korea, exports increased 4% from a year ago in value to just over $1 billion despite a 2% decline in volume (214,963 mt). This was largely due to a strong value increase for tripe, one of the top U.S. beef variety meat export items to Mexico. Variety meat exports were up 2% year-over-year in volume (89,667 mt) but jumped an impressive 18% in value to $244.5 million. This included $88 million in tripe exports -  up 28%.

  • Led by strong demand in Indonesia and steady growth in the Philippines, beef exports to the ASEAN region increased 23% from a year ago in volume (55,583 mt) and were 7% higher in value ($270.6 million).

  • Exports to the Dominican Republic already surpassed the 2018 record, increasing 24% in volume to 7,523 mt valued at $61.4 million (up 19%).

  • In Central America, strong demand in Guatemala and Panama helped push exports 4% higher than a year ago in volume (14,044 mt) and 9% higher in value ($79.9 million). Export value to Guatemala and Panama jumped 9% and 25%, respectively.

  • Mexico and Japan have led a very strong year for global exports of U.S. beef variety meat, which were up 4% from a year ago in volume (295,527 mt) and 9% higher in value ($885.9 million).

  • Exports to Japan, which largely consist of tongues and skirts, were up 20% from a year ago to 58,278 mt, valued at $355.5 million (up 13%).

  • Egypt, the largest destination for U.S. beef livers, saw a 4% increase in volume (59,203 mt) while export value climbed 17% to $69 million. Led by strong demand in Indonesia, variety meat exports to the ASEAN increased 39% in volume (16,595 mt) and 43% in value ($37.3 million).

  • Strong growth in the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago pushed variety meat exports to the Caribbean 17% higher in volume (6,814 mt) while value surged 61% to $14.2 million.

Related:UPDATE: Beef exports to Hong Kong, the EU and China

While producers here in the U.S. seem to be increasingly concerned about imported beef entering the United States marketplace, I think we fail to acknowledge that demand for our beef is steadily increasing with the growing middle class around the world!

Related:UPDATE: Beef exports to Hong Kong, the EU and China

It’s very clear to me that while our domestic consumer may be getting more finicky about eating beef, in other parts of the globe, the sweet taste of our grain-fed beef grown here in the United States is very welcome indeed!

There are robust opportunities ahead for us, and thankfully, some of these ongoing trade wars and market uncertainties should settle down in 2020.

According to the USMEF, “November beef exports totaled 108,662 mt, down 4% from a year ago, valued at $658.1 million (down 7%). For January through November, beef exports trailed 2018's record pace by 3% in both volume (1.21 million mt) and value ($7.4 billion). However, 2019 is already the second-highest year for beef export value, trailing only the 2018 record of $8.33 billion.

“Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $307.55 in November, down 15% from a year ago. Through November, per-head export value averaged $308.74, down 4%. November exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.1% and 11.8%, respectively, a year ago. For January through November, exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production and 11.4% for muscle cuts, down from 14.5% and 12%, respectively, a year ago.”

To see all of the numbers from 2019, visit USMEF by clicking here.

While we may be trailing behind the record-shattering year of 2018, I think these numbers are still a positive, one that is certainly worth mentioning by President Trump in his address to the Farm Bureau members.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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