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Despite drought, beef, pork exports to set records for value

January 25, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez
  • U.S. beef and pork exports were expected to exceed 2011 record levels for value, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Above, cattle are rounded up in Ramona, Calif. last summer.
U.S. beef and pork exports were expected to exceed 2011 record levels for… (Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg )

U.S. beef and pork exports are on a pace to set records for value, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

With only December left to be recorded, U.S. beef exports in 2012 through November, while down 11% in volume, were still 2% above 2011 in value. Beef exports totaled $5.05 billion. 

The punishing Midwest drought last year affected the livestock industry, which saw feed costs skyrocket.

"Volume has been an issue for beef exports all year," Philip Seng, president of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said in a statement. But "an appreciated value of those products has helped the industry hold its own in a challenging year."

Pork exports, on the other hand, were up both in volume and value during the same period in 2012. Through November, pork volume was 2.1 million metric tons -- up 2% from the year before. Export values were up 5% from the year before, rising to $5.8 billion.

Most exports were heading to Japan and Canada. Exports also increased to Taiwan after the country lifted some restrictions on beef containing ractopamine, an additive commonly used in feed for beef and pork.

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ricardo.lopez2@latimes.com

Follow Ricardo Lopez on Twitter.

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