According to information released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in January 2021 U.S. beef and pork exports opened the year below the large volumes posted in 2020.
The data, compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), shows beef exports totaled 105,047 metric tons (mt) in January, down 2% from a year ago, while value slipped 3% to $653 million.
But, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says the January numbers were steady with a year ago for beef muscle cuts.
For U.S. pork, January exports totaled 248,656 mt, down 9% from a year ago but slightly above USMEF’s projections. Export value was down 13% to $642.8 million.
The January numbers also show U.S. lamb exports climbed 7% to 1,027 mt but value fell 43% to $1.2 million, as volume growth was driven by lamb variety meat demand in Mexico and Canada. Lamb’s muscle cut exports trended higher than a year ago to Bermuda and Japan.
And while Halstrom said January did represent a fairly solid start to 2021, he cautions that U.S. red meat exports still face COVID-related obstacles and significant transportation and labor challenges.
A detailed summary of the January export results is available on the USMEF website.