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U.S. red meat exports bring significant returns to corn, soy growers

Beef and pork exports of $18.1 billion in 2023 had a significant impact on the corn and soybean industries, according to an independent study conducted by The Juday Group and released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The study quantified the returns that beef and pork exports brought to corn and soybean producers nationally and on a state-by-state level for leading corn and soybean-producing states.

Nationally, U.S. pork and beef exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 14.6% per bushel to the value of corn and 13.9% per bushel to soybeans in 2023, according to the study.

“We’ve been charting the impact of red meat exports on corn and soybean value since 2016. Despite the international headwinds the red meat industry faced in 2023, red meat exports contributed substantially to the bushel values of U.S. corn and soybeans,” says Dave Juday of The Juday Group.

The quality of U.S. corn and soybeans as feed inputs is a key differentiator for U.S. red meat in international markets, says USMEF Chair Randy Spronk, a pork and grain producer from Edgerton, Minnesota.

“Our production practices and the quality of our feed inputs is an important part of the story that USMEF promotes to international customers,” says Spronk. “How we raise our soybeans, how we raise our corn, how we process our feed and the efficiencies we strive for ‒ those are sustainable practices that help differentiate us from other beef and pork exporters.”

Key findings from the study, which utilized 2023 statistics provided by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and data compiled by The Juday Group, include:

Exporting corn through U.S. beef and pork

  • Beef and pork exports accounted for 512.7 million bushels of U.S. corn usage, which equated to a market value of $3.05 billion (at an average 2023 corn price of $5.95 per bushel).
  • Beef and pork exports accounted for 3.07 million tons of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) usage, equating to $671.62 million (at an average price of $219 per ton).
  • Beef and pork exports contributed an estimated total economic impact of 14.6%, or $0.87, of bushel value at an average price of $5.95 per bushel.
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