Beef export value was $7.13 billion – an increase of 16 percent (and nearly $1 billion) over the previous record set in 2013. Export volume was just under 1.2 million metric tons (mt) – which was short of the 2011 record, but up 2 percent year-over-year.

Exports overcame significant challenges to reach these milestones, including market access restrictions in Russia and China, an appreciating U.S. dollar and most recently, shipping difficulties related to a labor dispute in the West Coast ports.

In December, beef export volume slipped 2 percent year-over-year to 100,270 mt, though value still increased 17 percent to $643.2 million.

“2014 was an outstanding year for red meat exports, but headwinds continued to mount late in the year,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

The strength in international demand for U.S. red meat was showcased in 2014, as customers paid record prices for U.S. beef and pork while still purchasing larger volumes.


This is especially noteworthy because U.S. pork prices were higher than EU prices for most of the year, and U.S. cattle prices were significantly higher than prices in Australia and all other major beef-exporting countries. 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.

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.

Asian markets propel beef export results

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

  • 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.

Complete 2014 export results are available on the USMEF statistics webpage.  end mark

—From U.S. Meat Export Federation news release