US beef exports achieved a milestone 2011, with shpments surpassing the volumes that existed prior to the December 2003 discovery of BSE in the country for the first time.
In an interview reported by Brownfield Ag News, USDA chief economist Joe Glauber said export markets had proven to be a bright spot for US livestock producers in 2011.
“There’s been a long climb back and I think, particularly with some of the more recent trade developments with some of the Asian markets, hopefully that will increase over time,” Mr Glauber said.
US beef exports grew 19 percent in 2010 and were anticipated to have grown a further 25pc 2011, according to Randy Blach, executive vice president of trend-watcher CattleFax.
“Those are some huge increases that we’ve come through here in just a handful of years,” Mr Blach said.
“We expect that incomes in other parts of the world will continue to rise faster than where they are in the U.S. until we can get this recession behind us, and that tells us these exports trends are going to be very brisk here for a period of time.
Eleven percent of US beef production was exported in 2011.
US Meat Export Federation President Phil Seng told Brownfield Ag News in December that US exports in 2011 were a great source of pride and optimism.
“We see this trend continuing and hopefully this’ll be enough impetus for us to start rebuilding some of our herds,” Mr Seng said.
“Because what we’re seeing now, some of these international markets are clearly outbidding our domestic market for some of these products.”
The closure of several markets had caused the US Beef industry to diversify its export destinations, and the results of that work were now emerging.
“We’ve take a negative and we’ve really made it a positive. And, what’s even more encouraging is when Japan – and, obviously when we have access into China and some of these other markets, unbridled access – it’s going to be very exciting for the beef industry.”