U.S. pork exports trended higher in several markets in April while beef shipments lagged behind last year's figures.

Data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) show pork export volume increased 15% over April 2022; export value was also up year-over-year, increasing 10% to $660.1 million. In the first four months of 2023, pork export volume has increased 14% and totals $2.62 billion, a 13% export value increase.

“International demand continues to be a positive for the entire pork supply chain,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “While Mexico remains a star performer for U.S. pork, it’s really encouraging to see growth in many markets.”

Pork exports to South Korea also shot up, increasing 42% by volume over last year's figures.

April beef exports were down compared to last year, when USMEF noted the industry was the beneficiary of exceptional demand that set records in many cases. From January to April, beef exports were down 8% in volume and 21% lower in value compared to last year.

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“With U.S. beef supplies tightening, it’s difficult to keep pace with the remarkable export totals posted in the first half of 2022, but exports continue to account for a similar share of production as last year’s record,” Halstrom said.

Beef exports to many markets — including Mexico, South Korea, Europe and Africa — increased in April.

Lamb exports did not match the generally positive trends of pork and beef. U.S. lamb muscle cuts exports were down 13% in April, and value fell 20%. Lamb exports are trending higher for markets in Mexico, the Netherlands Antilles, the Bahamas, Guatemala and Canada.

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