In the week that Ireland announced emissions reduction targets for agriculture, US Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke about not needing to reduce the amount of meat or livestock produced in the US.

The strength of their meat industry is demonstrated by the latest export figures released by the US Meat Exporters Federation (USMEF).

September beef exports hit 123,628t, the fourth largest monthly total in recent times, and in the process, bring total exports for 2021 past 1m tonnes with three months of 2021 left to go.

China continues to grow rapidly, taking 1,380,041t to the end of September, almost seven times more than the same period last year

This is up 7% for volume on the record year of 2018 and a massive 24% on value, which is at $7.58bn for the year to-date.

Japan is the top destination for US beef, taking 246,380t in the year to the end of September, followed by South Korea on 213,326t.

China continues to grow rapidly, taking 1,380,041t to the end of September, almost seven times more than the same period last year.

Pigmeat

Pigmeat volumes were down marginally in September at 219,687t compared with last year, though the value was 8% higher.

Mexico was the main export market, taking just under 80,000t in September, with year-to-date volumes at 623,228t.

Sales to China and Hong Kong are down 23% on last year, as China’s import demand reduces to 619,709t, while Japan has increased by 6% on the first nine months of 2020, reaching 300,982t.

Export performance for US beef in 2021 is on track to surpass the record year of 2018 in both volume and value.