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Beef Buzz News

2014 - Banner Year for U.S. Beef Exports

Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:04:56 CST

2014 - Banner Year for U.S. Beef Exports One of the things happening at the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas is a celebration of what went right in 2014 for the cattle industry. It’s been called a “perfect storm” as far profitability and part of that profitability can be traced back to the export market for U.S. beef. According to U.S. Meat Export Federation Chairman Leann Saunders of Castle Rock, Colorado said 2014 was quite a year.

“It’s been a tremendous year, we’re seeing record numbers across the board, so $7.1 billion in value for exports this year across the beef complex,” Saunders said.

With record beef prices in 2014, it was predicted the value of exports would be at record levels. Beef export value was an increase of 16 percent and nearly $1 billion over the previous record set in 2013. Though it was somewhat surprising that the export volume remained strong coming in at 1.2 million metric ton in 2014. That was short of the 2011 record, but up 2 percent year-over-year. Saunders said that is quite remarkable and it speaks to the demand for high quality beef in these international markets.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Saunders on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

In looking at the role of USMEF, Saunders said it has taken 40 years to get to these levels by getting into a market, building upon the infrastructure that USMEF has with offices around the world and building those relationships in these markets.

“To me, that’s what really stands out in a year like this when you have really high prices, is that the development of that infrastructure and relationships longterm continues to pull that product and as you look at 96 percent of the world’s population outside the U.S. borders and you look at a rising GDP in the Asian markets, to me that continues to pull this product through," Saunders said.

In looking at the future outlook, the strength of the U.S. dollar could hurt export sales. At the Cattle Industry Convention, Cattle Fax mentioned how the rising index of the U.S. dollar is making an impact. Saunders shared the same sentiment. She said they are seeing it especially in the European market. In looking at competitors in these markets, she said that will always be a challenge, but she remains optimistic that international demand for U.S. beef will remain strong in 2015.   

In keeping demand for U.S. beef, Saunders said the meat industry will need to continue to supporting those markets that have good customers historically, especially high value markets like Japan. She said the U.S. will also need to continue to work on market access issues that keep the U.S. from potentially strong beef markets, such as Russia and China. USMEF also continues to watch Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Saunders they are encouraged by the trade negotiations and what it could mean to the beef industry.

Saunders is president of Where Food Comes From, a agricultural and food verification and certification company. As Chairman of the USMEF, Saunders said the role is very gratifying, in growing up on a cow-calf operation. She said USMEF is making an impact on a cattle producer’s bottom line.

“Exports is the value added market of the future,” Saunders said. “When I look at the contribution of the checkoff into the U.S. Meat Export Federation and those international programs, I feel very competent in saying it’s a strong return on investment for those dollars put in and we are very appreciative to the cattle industry for doing that and recognizing the future of those export markets.”

Beef exports in 2014 equated to 14 percent of total production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 11 percent of muscle cuts alone, up from 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, a year ago. Exports continue to generate strong returns for producers, as beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged a record $297.68 in 2014, up $52.72 from the previous year. December export value was $340.69 per head, up $61.53 from a year ago. Pork export value per head slaughtered also set a record of $62.45 in 2014 (up $8.50 from a year ago), despite slipping slightly in December ($54.94, down $0.33).

U.S. beef performed exceptionally well in key Asian markets in 2014:

-- Exports to Japan increased 3 percent in volume (241,129 mt) and 14 percent in value ($1.58 billion). Value eclipsed the 2003 (pre-BSE) mark ($1.39 billion) for the first time, though volume was still below the 2003 total.

-- Hong Kong set new annual records as export volume increased 19 percent to 154,520 mt and value surged 40 percent to $1.15 billion.

-- Exports to South Korea set a new annual value record of $847.4 million, up 39 percent. Volume increased 12 percent to 117,567 mt.

-- Taiwan also set a new annual value record of $293.6 million (up 15 percent), while volume increased 5 percent to 33,804 mt.

-- In Mexico, exports increased 12 percent in volume to 242,566 mt and 26 percent in value to $1.17 billion. As USMEF has previously noted, however, issues with the 2013 data suggest these year-over-year increases may be overstated.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Leann Saunders, Chairman of USMEF
right-click to download mp3


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