Lower feed costs and the popularity of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, also are helping pork producers. And a weaker dollar made U.S. pork cheaper than that sold by Canada and Europe.
Put it all together and you have a record year for pork exports.
In the big picture, pork producers sold 20.5 billion pounds of pork last year compared to 19.95 billion pounds in 2003. Reaping the benefits were producers both large and small. Most noticeably were profits garnered by the Big Three. Smithfield experienced a sales increase of 39 percent for its processed products bringing in a total of $5.7 billion, Premium Standard reported a 30 percent increase for both processing and production putting $1.1 billion dollars on the bottom line, and Seaboard Farms reported pork sales increased by 31 percent tipping the scales at 961 million dollars.