Iowa Public Television


Hog Exports Have Record Increase

posted on April 29, 2005

For months, pork producers have enjoyed a run of favorable prices. And a variety of factors, including concerns over the safety of beef, are fueling demand overseas for "the other white meat."

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.

Hog Exports Have Record Increase As the ban against US beef exports expands into its 16th month, new industry data show pork is helping to fill the gap. According to numbers crunched by the University of Missouri, pork exports jumped almost 30% in weight and 35% by value bringing in almost $2 billion in 2004. Most of the increase comes in the form of variety meats.

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.

Tags: agriculture animals beef industry livestock markets meat news pigs pork