Challenges like the struggling global economy and trade barriers did not slow down U.S. meat exports in 2012. It was a record year for U.S. poultry and livestock exports helping keep domestic demand for U.S. soy strong, according to Illinois farmer and United Soybean Board Director David Hartke.
“Every time we export meat we’re exporting soybean meal through the meat product itself. In Illinois for an example we’ve got a higher basis on our crops because the livestock is throwing that demand out there for the soybeans, the soybean meal and corn, and high waters raise all boats.”
U.S. poultry, egg and pork shipments exceeded previous highs for value and volume set in 2011. International beef sales dipped slightly in volume but broke the previous value record.
Soy meal constitutes a significant portion of animal feeds. Domestic animal agriculture uses about 97 percent of the domestic supply of U.S. soy meal, making it the U.S. soy industry’s No. 1 customer.
Poultry and hogs remain the biggest users of U.S. soy meal. Statistics show poultry consumption is roughly 12.9 million metric tons annually, the meal from 601 million bushels of soybeans. And hogs account for 6.8 million metric tons of U.S. soy meal, the meal from 318 million bushels of soybeans.
The soy checkoff partners with organizations like the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to market U.S. meat and poultry abroad. The checkoff and USMEF are having success too. They helped increase consumption of pork back ribs in Japan from zero to 4.5 million pounds over the last three years.
The U.S. meat and poultry export figures for 2012 include:
- Pork exports nearly reached 2.3 million metric tons, valued at over $6.3 billion.
- Broiler meat exports, excluding chicken paws, reached 3.3 million metric tons, valued at nearly $4.2 billion.
- Beef exports reached 1.1 million metric tons, valued at $5.5 billion.
- Turkey exports reached 361,597 metric tons, valued at $678 million.
- Chicken paw exports reached 363,974 metric tons, valued at $450.1 million.
Egg exports, table eggs and processed egg products in shell equivalents reached 274.1 million dozen, valued at $263.7 million.