Meat & Livestock News

U.S. Pork and Lamb Exports Surge as 2024 Begins


  • U.S. pork and lamb exports have seen a robust start in 2024, with pork exports increasing by 6% in volume and value, and lamb exports marking the highest value in over four years.
  • Beef exports slightly declined in volume by 1% from the previous year, but the export value rose by 9%, indicating a strong demand in key markets.
  • The growth in exports is attributed to strong performances in various global markets, particularly Mexico for pork, and a positive outlook for beef and lamb in both traditional and emerging markets.

In Denver, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), has reported a promising start to 2024 for U.S. pork and lamb exports. Despite a slight dip in beef export volume, the overall value has seen a significant uptick, showcasing the global demand for U.S. meat products.

Pork Exports on the Rise

January witnessed pork exports reaching 251,424 tonnes, a 6% increase from the previous year, with the export value also rising by 6% to $682.1 million. Mexico, as the leading market, recorded the second-largest pork export volume in history, only slightly behind December 2023’s figures.

This growth is not limited to Mexico; significant gains were observed across the Western Hemisphere and Asia-Pacific regions, including South Korea, Central and South America, Australia, and Malaysia. Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, highlighted the broadening appeal of U.S. pork beyond raw materials to include premium cuts, enhancing its presence in retail and foodservice sectors globally.

Beef Exports: A Mixed Picture with Positive Value Growth

Although beef exports saw a marginal 1% decrease in volume compared to the previous year, the export value experienced a 9% increase, reaching $763.8 million. This rise in value is attributed to heightened demand in South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and Hong Kong. 

Notably, beef variety meat exports surged by 12% in volume and 16% in value, driven by strong performances in Japan, Egypt, Mexico, Korea, Peru, and China/Hong Kong. Despite challenges in beef liver shipments to Egypt in 2023, recent months have shown signs of recovery, with USMEF optimistic about beef demand in 2024.

Lamb Exports Hit Four-Year High

The lamb sector also witnessed a significant start to the year, with January exports totalling 303 tonnes, a 28% increase from the previous year, and the value soaring to $1.7 million, marking a 53% rise. This growth was primarily fueled by demand in the Caribbean and Canada, with Mexico also showing an increase in value.

The strong performance of U.S. pork, beef, and lamb exports at the beginning of 2024 reflects the resilience and appeal of U.S. meat products in the global market. With strategic market expansions and a focus on quality, the U.S. meat industry is poised for continued success in international trade.