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Study shows red meat exports' value to corn, soybean industries

Beef and pork exports accounted for 503.4 million bushels of U.S. corn usage, which equated to a market value of $3.4 billion.

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National Pork Board

A record value of beef and pork exports brought significant returns to the U.S. corn and soybean industries in 2022, according to an independent study conducted by World Perspectives, Inc. and released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. pork and beef exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 15% per bushel to the value of corn and 13% per bushel to soybeans in 2022, according to the study.

"For every bushel of corn we marketed in 2022, a little over $1 was attributed to red meat exports and with soybeans, pork exports contributed $1.94 per bushel," says USMEF Chair Dean Meyer, who produces corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs near Rock Rapids, Iowa. "Pork and beef exports bring critical support to our bottom lines."

Corn and soybean growers support the international promotion of U.S. pork, beef and lamb by investing a portion of their checkoff dollars in market development efforts conducted by USMEF. 

"We are a major exporter of corn and soybeans but this study reminds us of the value of our indirect exports of corn and soybeans through pork and beef," says Dave Juday, senior analyst for World Perspectives. "The contributions of pork and beef exports to the per-bushel value of U.S. corn and soybeans in 2022 were the highest estimates we've seen to date. And that was critically important, as corn and soybean farmers worked to maintain margins with higher input costs across the board."

Key findings from the study, which utilized 2022 statistics provided by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service and data analysis by World Perspectives, include:

Exporting corn through U.S. beef and pork

  • Beef and pork exports accounted for 503.4 million bushels of U.S. corn usage, which equated to a market value of $3.4 billion (at an average corn price of $6.75 per bushel).

  • Beef and pork exports accounted for 3.42 million tons of DDGS usage, equating to $834 million (at an average price of $244 per ton). 

  • Beef and pork exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 15%, or $1.01, of bushel value in 2022 at an average price of $6.75 per bushel.

Exporting soybeans through U.S. pork

  • Pork exports accounted for 89.7 million bushels of U.S. soybean usage, which equated to a market value of $1.33 billion (at an average price of $14.83 per bushel).

  • Pork exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 13% of bushel value, or $1.94, in 2022 at an average price of $14.83 per bushel.

Handouts detailing the impact of red meat exports at the national level and on the leading corn-producing and soybean-producing states are available from the USMEF website.

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