Despite Record Meat Exports, U.S. in Precarious Position

DENVER, CO – While demand for U.S. meat and poultry continues to grow, there are a few headwinds facing the industry in the near future, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

For example, while returning demand from the foodservice sector has been incredible over the past six months – highlighting the importance of keeping the economy open in spite of a global pandemic – the lack of an available, and willing workforce at restaurants is leading to higher prices and more frustrations for consumers.

Those higher prices could continue to move up if current rates of inflation don’t begin to ease, reflecting the additional challenges of broken global supply chains.

Current projections have 2021 being a record year for U.S. meat exports, led by red meat demand from Korea (up 17 percent) and China (up 137 percent).

The proof of better days is seen in per-head packer margins, which remain at historic highs, and choice boxed beef cutout values running 50 percent higher than the same period one year ago.

For the pork industry, 27 percent of the U.S. harvest is exported, which means that one case of African Swine Fever (ASF) would shut down the export markets immediately and likely damage both pork prices and hog values that are trading between 40 and 60 percent above the five-year average.
(SOURCE: All Ag News)

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