U.S. pork exports jump 200 percent

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DENVER — Ten years ago, the U.S. exported 1.116 billion pounds of pork, making our nation the source of about 1 pound of every 6 pounds of pork traded globally.

How times have changed. In the first four months of 2008 alone, the U.S. pork industry already has exported 1.389 billion pounds of pork products to trading partners around the globe.

What that means is for every 3.3 pounds of pork traded in the world, 1 pound came from the U.S.

Pay off

The consistent taste and quality of U.S. pork products and decades of campaigns and promotions to bring the message of the high quality and reliable attributes of U.S. pork to the attention of the world have made the U.S. the dominant player in the global pork industry.

“It’s clear that future growth and prosperity for the U.S. pork industry are inextricably tied to our ability to grow exports,” said Danita Rodibaugh, pork producer from Rensselaer, Ind., and past president of the National Pork Board.

“The increasing presence and importance of U.S. pork in the global marketplace is a tribute to the quality of product, in addition to how well we are marketing it overseas.”

Export records

U.S. pork has set export records for 16 consecutive years, the best two months ever for U.S. pork exports were both in 2008 and this year exports have accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. pork and pork variety meat production, versus 16.5 percent last year.

Total pork exports for January-April 2008 are up 52 percent over January-April 2007, and are valued at $1.4 billion.

Looking ahead

The U.S. Meat Export Federation forecasts total 2008 pork exports at 3.34 billion pounds — a 200 percent increase over exports in 1998 — which could be conservative if exports continue at the torrid pace of the first four months, according to Erin Daley, U.S. Meat Export Federation manager of research and analysis.

Unprecedented volumes of pork exports to Japan, the China/Hong Kong region and Russia have resulted in record-breaking monthly volumes during 2008.

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