Although plant-based products have been in the spotlight of late, U.S. beef and pork exports still established new records in March, according to new analysis.
RENEWED HOPE FOR RED MEAT INDUSTRY
U.S. beef and pork exports hit the highest monthly values ever recorded in March, as noted by Agri Pulse (May 5). The new record is giving hope to the industry that the slowdown caused by the pandemic is mostly in the rear-view mirror, according to analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
The U.S. exported $801.9 million worth of beef in March, marking the first time that monthly exports topped $800 million. It was also a 14% increase from March of last year. The U.S. shipped a whopping 124,808 metric tons.
ASIA’S APPRETITE FOR U.S. BEEF, PORK STILL UP
The U.S. is now the largest supplier of grain-fed beef to China. Buyers in China purchased $109.9 million worth of beef during the month.
U.S. beef accounted for 3.4% of China’s first-quarter imports, up from under 1% at this point last year, according to USMEF in a recently released report. China and Hong Kong also remained the largest foreign market for pork in the first quarter.
ASF RAMPANT IN CHINA
Another key factor in America’s export surge: As China has largely brought the coronavirus pandemic under control within its borders, another highly contagious disease—African swine fever (ASF)—is reappearing, reported The Wall Street Journal (April 28).
For about four months since mid-November in 2020, pig farms in China reported no new cases of ASF, a deadly hemorrhagic disease that resulted in the loss of around 120 million hogs in the country in 2020.
However, since mid-March, China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs has reported a large number of new cases across the country. This supports the claims of several independent veterinary and farming consultants since late 2019 that the disease is still widespread in the region.