USDA projects U.S. pork exports will grow by more than 34% from 2024 to 2033.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

February 15, 2024

3 Min Read
Getty Images/iStockphoto

U.S. pork exports are set to exceed broiler exports during the next decade, the first time this will have happened since 1976, according to newly released USDA long-term projections. The data also suggest all U.S. exports of major meats will grow through 2033.

USDA agriculture economists Brian Williams, Erik Dohlman, and Matthew Miller explained that prices for chicken meat have historically been lower than for beef and pork, which has contributed to U.S. broiler demand growth. Production is expected to rise through 2033, along with steady growth in broiler exports. Factors influencing U.S. poultry export growth include global income and population growth and urbanization trends in many developing economies and emerging markets, the economists noted.

USDA projects broiler exports will rise from a record 7.38 billion pounds in 2024 and continue to set record highs each year of the projection period, ending 8% higher at 8.07 billion pounds in 2033.

Even with the steady growth in broiler exports, U.S. pork exports are projected to grow from 6.95 billion pounds in 2024 to 9.34 billion pounds by 2033, an increase of more than 34%.

“By 2026, U.S. pork exports are expected to surpass the record of 7.28 billion pounds set in 2020, which was attributed to high pork demand from China at the height of its disruptive African swine fever epidemic,” the economists explained.

By 2028, they will exceed chicken exports and continue to do so throughout the projection period, the economists said.

“Efficiency gains in U.S. hog production and pork processing are expected to continue to enhance the sector’s international competitiveness. In addition, European Union (EU) policies are expected to reduce growth of that region’s pork exports, and the United States is projected to surpass the EU as the world’s leading pork exporter in 2025.”

The outlook for U.S. beef exports, on the other hand, is mixed, USDA data showed. They are expected to fall to an eight-year low in 2024, followed by an even further decline, to 2.71 billion pounds, in 2025 (down almost 5%). From there, a steady climb is expected through 2031 before falling again in the last two years of the projection period. This decline reflects a projected reduction in commercial production, the economists said.

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Domestic availability to grow faster than exports

Even with increases in U.S. beef, chicken, and pork exports, USDA data predicts production and domestic availability of these meats will grow faster than their exports. In fact, USDA projects per capita domestic consumption of all three meats in 2033 is expected to exceed 2024 levels.

Of the three meats, USDA expects per capita pork consumption will increase by the smallest amount (1.7 pounds), peaking in 2030 at 53.6 pounds before starting to fall near the end of the projection period to 52.7 pounds by 2033. Beef consumption is forecast at the lowest level in 9 years for 2024 but is projected to increase 2.6 pounds by the end of the projection period. Broiler consumption will see the largest growth of 7.3 pounds during the period.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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