2017 was a record-breaking year for U.S. red meat exports, with beef export value exceeding $7 billion for only the second time. Pork exports, meanwhile, easily surpassed the previous year’s volume record. The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports beef exports totaled 1.26 million metric tons, up six percent from 2016. This was the fourth-largest volume on record and the second-largest of the post-BSE, or mad cow disease, era. Beef export value reached $7.27 billion, up 15 percent year-over-year and two percent above the previous high achieved in 2014 of $7.13 billion.
Pork exports totaled 2.45 million metric tons in 2017, breaking the 2016 record by six percent. Export value was $6.49 billion, up nine percent year-over-year, and the second-highest on record, trailing only 2014’s $6.65 billion. Pork exports accounted for 26.6 percent of total production in 2017 and 22.3 percent for muscle cuts only, each up nearly a full percentage point from a year ago.