USDA foresees dip in exports of pork and beef, continued growth for chicken

November 11, 2022

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects the U.S. to export less pork and beef in the near future, but exports of chicken should continue to grow.

The department’s 10-year projections of the U.S. agriculture market say that the 3.6 billion pounds of beef exported in 2022 will dip to 2.9 billion in 2024. Exports are projected to slowly recover to 3.3 billion pounds by 2032.

That will come as a result of global inflation and U.S. drought conditions, said President of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, Eric Jennings. He said high prices have pushed consumers to cheaper foods, and the drought has forced ranchers to cut herd sizes.

“The price of that beef is going to go up because the supply is coming down,” Jennings said. “So, it’s not as bad as it might appear.”

Per capita consumption of beef is also projected to decline from 58.9 pounds per person to 55.5 pounds (-3.4) in 2032, according to the USDA.

It’s hard to say what’s driving less beef consumption trends with certainty, Jennings said, but beef being a more expensive meat option during record inflation and fewer cattle available overall doesn’t help.

If anything is certain, it’s that the decline isn’t driven by future consumers wanting less meat in their diets.

By 2032, pork consumption is projected to grow from 51.6 pounds per person to 56.3 pounds (+5.2), while chicken consumption is expected to jump from 96.6 pounds to 106 (+5.4) in 2032.

The changing export projections are less severe for those two meat markets, as well. Pork exports could drop from 6.4 billion pounds in 2022 to 6.3 billion in 2023, then steadily grow to 6.9 billion in 2032. U.S. chicken exports will hold steady, the USDA report said. That market will likely grow from 7.2 billion pounds exported in 2022 to 8.4 in 2032.