The U.S. currently exports 14.1% of the beef it produces and 26.9% of the pork it produces, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Since 2015, indirect exports of corn and soybeans through beef and pork exports has been the fastest-growing category of corn and soybean use, delivering critical returns for corn and soybean farmers. These producers support the international promotion of U.S. beef, pork and lamb by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF.
USMEF has released an updated version of the independent study aimed at quantifying the value red meat exports provide to U.S. corn and soybean producers. The original study was conducted in 2016, with updates also released in 2018 and 2019. The following are key findings from the latest version, which utilizes 2019 export data:
Value of feed use of corn and soybeans in red meat exports
- In 2019, U.S. beef and pork exports used 480 million bu. of corn. Corn revenue generated by pork exports totaled $1.8 billion (480 million bu. x average annual price of $3.75/bu.).
- In 2019, U.S. pork exports used 2.12 million tons of soybean meal, which is the equivalent of 89.2 million bu. of soybeans. Soybean revenue generated by pork exports totaled $751.7 million (89.2 million bu. x average annual price of $8.43/bu.).
- Beef and pork exports used about 3 million tons of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2019 at an annual average price of $137 per ton. This generated $411.8 million in revenue for co-products of ethanol mills.
Value to U.S. corn and soybean crop from red meat exports
- In 2019, beef and pork exports contributed more than 12% of the per-bushel price of corn (46 cents/bu.) at an annual average price of $3.75/bu. With total production of 13.62 billion bu., the value of pork exports to the U.S. corn crop was $6.26 billion.
- In 2019, pork exports contributed 9% of the per-bushel price of soybeans (76 cents/bu.) at an annual average price of $8.43/bu. With total production of 3.55 billion bu., the value of pork exports was $2.7 billion to the U.S. soybean crop.
"The value of red meat exports to corn is higher than the previous year, both in cents per bushel and percentage of total price," said World Perspectives Inc. senior analyst Dave Juday, who conducted the original study and subsequent updates. "Soybean prices last year trended lower overall, so the total value of pork exports to U.S. soybeans -- in terms of cents per bushel -- is not as large as in our last update, but the value added as a percentage of the per bushel price remained steady."
USMEF president and chief executive officer Dan Halstrom said quantifying the value delivered by beef and pork exports is reassuring to corn and soybean producers, who provide critical support for USMEF's efforts to expand global demand for U.S. red meat.
"These are challenging times for everyone in U.S. agriculture, with producers facing difficult choices every day," Halstrom said. "USMEF greatly appreciates the foresight and confidence shown by the corn and soybean sectors when they invest in red meat exports, and this study provides a detailed analysis of the value delivered by that investment."