April 13, 2018

Do you know how important trade is for the U.S. meat industry?

by James Mintert

Growth in trade of animal products has been quite dramatic since the mid-1980s and U.S. agricultural producers – those engaged in animal agriculture and those engaged in feed grain and oilseed production – have benefited greatly. In particular, U.S. crop producers have benefited because the increase in U.S. meat exports has encouraged expansion of U.S. animal agriculture and thereby helped boost demand for U.S. produced feed grains and oilseeds.

To see this more clearly, it’s helpful to examine how dramatic the shift has been in both U.S. meat production and exports. In the mid-1980s U.S. meat production (beef, pork and poultry, combined) totaled just over 56 billion pounds per year and meat exports, to all destinations, in the mid-1980s totaled about 1 billion pounds. By 2017, U.S. meat production totaled 105 billion pounds, which was more than double its mid-1980s level. But meat exports skyrocketed, increasing 17-fold from the 1980s, and actually exceeded 17 billion pounds in 2017. That means meat exports, which averaged less than 2 percent of U.S. meat production in the mid-1980s, rose above 16 percent of U.S. production in 2017. In a span of just over three decades the U.S. went from exporting less than 2 pounds out of every hundred pounds of meat produced to exporting 16 pounds out of every hundred pounds of meat. And it did so in a time frame when total meat production nearly doubled.

Pork, beef and poultry exports all increased since the mid-1980s, but the rate of growth was not uniform across these three major meat production sectors. Beef exports increased six-fold, reaching 2.9 billion pounds in 2017 compared to less than 500 million pounds in the 1980s. Poultry exports increased 12-fold, rising from an average of 625 million pounds in the 1980s to nearly 7.7 billion pounds in 2017. But the most dramatic increase occurred in the pork sector. U.S. pork exports during the mid-80s averaged just over 100 million pounds. By 2017 pork exports totaled 5.6 billion pounds, a stunning 52-fold increase compared to three decades earlier.

Exports have turned into an important source of demand for all major meat production sectors. During 2017, 11 percent of U.S. beef production was exported, up from less than 2 percent in the 1980s. The poultry sector exported 16 percent of production during 2017 vs. about 3 percent three decades ago. And the U.S. pork sector, which exported less than 1 percent of production in the mid-1980s, exported 22 percent of U.S. production during 2017.

Future growth in U.S. meat exports will depend primarily on income growth in importing countries, competitiveness of the U.S. meat production sector and U.S. producers’ access to markets around the world. Growth in meat exports over the last three decades has facilitated growth in U.S. animal agriculture. Future growth in the U.S. meat sector will depend on continued growth in meat exports.

U.S. Meat Exports Percent of U.S. Production, 1960-2017

U.S. Meat Exports Percent of U.S. Production, 1960-2017

TAGS:

TEAM LINKS:

RELATED RESOURCES

Pork Export Strength Reliant on China

August 21, 2020

World pork markets have been disrupted the last couple of years, first by African Swine Fever (ASF) in China followed by a U.S.-China trade dispute and then, in 2020, by the coronavirus.

READ MORE

Ag Outlook Webinar

June 12, 2020

Recorded June 12, 2020 | Purdue agricultural economists Michael Langemeier and James Mintert provide an updated ag outlook, which includes information from USDA’s June WASDE report along with updated profitability estimates for corn and soybeans. The webinar also addressed questions regarding eligibility for and assistance provided by USDA’s CFAP program.

READ MORE

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Application Details

May 27, 2020

USDA’s Farm Service Agency is accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) from producers who have suffered losses. Indiana FSA Director Steve Brown and staff join Jim Mintert for a discussion on eligibility requirements, payment rates and application details of the 2020 CFAP program.

READ MORE

UPCOMING EVENTS

October Corn & Soybean Outlook Update

Join us Friday, October 9 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) for an updated corn and soybean outlook immediately following release of USDA’s October Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) reports. Registration is free but necessary to receive the link to join live or get notice of the webinar recording.

Read More

Financial Management – Statements & Analysis

September 23, 2020

A series of financial management articles that examine financial statements and financial analysis. Articles in this series discuss the balance sheet, the income statement, the sources and uses of fund statements, a statement of owner’s equity, and benchmarking. A case farm in west central Indiana is used to illustrate and describe these financial management statements and analysis.

READ MORE

2020-07 Purdue Agricultural Economics Report (PAER)

July 23, 2020

The 2020 Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey suggests that farmland prices across Indiana improved since the June 2019 survey; however, many of those gains occurred between June and December 2019. Since then farmland prices have declined modestly.

READ MORE

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Application Details

May 27, 2020

USDA’s Farm Service Agency is accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) from producers who have suffered losses. Indiana FSA Director Steve Brown and staff join Jim Mintert for a discussion on eligibility requirements, payment rates and application details of the 2020 CFAP program.

READ MORE

Delivered right to your inbox

Don't miss our farm management program and resource updates! Receive our Commercial AGNews monthly newsletter - view the latest email here.