NCBA responds to import claims


Discussions about beef imports were a major headline last week as President Trump called to end cattle import. In response the NCBA agreed that the industry needs to have a conversation about imports and where we are sourcing beef, but it is also important that the conversation be rooted in facts, not back of the envelope estimates using outdated data.

In response to R-CALF’s May 22 press release on trade levels, NCBA would suggest that it’s important that any reasonable discussion on trade include the most recent information available. Global beef trade is dynamic and trade levels rise and fall based on factors such as changes in currency valuation, areas of drought or moisture, global consumer demand, and many other variables, so utilizing old trade data is just the latest demonstration of R-CALF’s willingness to cherry-pick the facts to drive their agendas.

Current USDA data available here, projects current U.S. beef import numbers for 2020 at 1.334 million metric tons, while domestic consumption is estimated at 12.389 million metric tons, amounting to imports totaling 11 percent of U.S. beef consumption during 2020. In 2019, the most current full-year data available shows imports of 1.387 million metric tons, versus consumption of 12.407 million metric tons, with U.S. imports again totaling 11 percent of total consumption.