U.S. red meat exports finished 2009 on a positive note with healthy gains in volume over December of a year ago, positioning both beef and pork exports to start 2010 on an upward trend, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Although 2009 year-end exports of both U.S. pork and beef were down compared to the prior year, U.S. exports equaled or bettered their main international competitors.
U.S. lamb muscle cut exports set a new value record of $21.9 million in 2009, breaking the previous year's mark by 2 percent. Muscle cut volume was 6,974 metric tons (15.38 million pounds), trailing only the 2006 record volume of 7,941 metric tons (17.51 million pounds).
Combined lamb plus lamb variety meat exports fell just short of the 2006 value record of $27.75 million, but the year-end total ($27.38 million) increased 8 percent over 2008. The year-end volume of 11,427 metric tons (25.19 million pounds) was 45 percent higher than 2008 and was also the second-highest total (to 2006) on record.
The Caribbean remained the leading value market for U.S. lamb, with a combined lamb/lamb variety meat total of $11.82 million. But exports to Mexico tripled in value over 2008, rising to $8.13 million.
The 2009 statistics are available at www.usmef.org/TradeLibrary/Statistics.asp.
Reprinted in part from AgWeb.com