The U.S. Meat Export Federation Strategic Planning Conference this week welcomed members from across the nation. The meeting covered booming demand for U.S. red meat in both established and emerging markets. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom told attendees demand for U.S. red meat may be at the most robust level he has ever seen.
He noted that U.S. beef exports to Japan, South Korea and China/Hong Kong are all on track to exceed $2 billion this year, and pork exports are up slightly in volume and significantly in value over last year's record pace. Total red meat export value will reach about $18 billion this year, including more than $2 billion in variety meat. This represents a rebound for variety meat exports, which took a step back in 2020.
Halstrom tempered his optimism, however, due to West Coast port congestion and other transportation obstacles, as well as a persistent labor shortage and heightening regulatory burdens.