It was just a few years ago that pork production could not keep up with demand, but that is no longer the case. “In2016, we will have produced more pork than in any year in the history of mankind. That’s a lot of pork,” says National Pork Board President Jan Archer, who is a pig farmer from North Carolina. She says the pork board is working hard to build demand to use all the pork that is being produced. “The pork board is working hard both in our domestic department and in our international trade department to work with our channel partners, our retail partners, and our food service partners to make sure we can move this pork,” she told HAT.
Meanwhile, pork production is expected to continue at a record pace well into the new year. Len Steiner, a pork industry economist, said that total meat production continues to increase, moving from 90.9 billion pounds in 2014 with expectations for meat output to exceed 101 billion pounds this year. Not since the mid-1990s has meat production increased so quickly. “We estimate that 2016 U.S. pork production will set an all-time record just shy of 25 billion pounds, with even more pork expected to be produced in 2017,” Steiner said. “The good news is that retailers and food service operators feel more secure about the growing meat supply, which can translate into falling meat prices and more promotional activity.”
Archer says the export market is an area where growth in demand for pork has shown promise, “Historically, we have been able to sell up to 27% of the pork we produce. Right now we are running about 24%.” She feels there is still room for growth in the pork export market. The TPP trade deal would have benefited pork producers, but now they will have to look to other ways of increasing pork sales in the export market.
“As a pork producer, I’m very excited about the work going on behind the scenes to help producers market this much product,” Archer said. “Our goal always is to provide high-quality, delicious pork to consumers in the U.S. and around the globe.”