2020 U.S. pork shattered records, thanks to diversified markets and demand

U.S. pork exports in 2020 shattered previous records, thanks to Chinese demand. Exports reached nearly 3 million metric tons, surpassing the 2019 record by 11 percent.

Pork export value also climbed 11 percent to a record $7.7 billion dollars. The annual records were set in China, Central American, Vietnam, and Chile.

Meanwhile, U.S. beef exports finished the year lower in both volume and value, but their fourth quarter volume increased by 5 percent from 2019, with December as one of the best months on record.

U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Dan Holstrom says that all of the momentum is not only thanks to China, but also diversifying export markets and strong retail and holiday demand.

U.S. swine production has increased by 70 percent since 1993, but there has only been a slight increase in the nation’s sow herd, specifically an annual increase of .02 percent.

Purdue University attributes the growth to improved production performance, like litters per sow, and piglets per litter.

In terms of output, pounds producers per sow increased from nearly 2,000 in 1993 to more than 3,000 pounds in 2019.