U.S. pork exports finished up 2019 on a good note, setting records for both the dollar value and total volume. 

The U.S. Meat Export Federation compiled USDA data and found that 5.89 billion pounds of U.S. pork and pork variety meats were exported to countries around the world. 

The volume was a 10 percent jump over the previous year, while the value came in at $6.95 billion, up nine percent over 2018. 

Pork exports accounted for almost 27 percent of total U.S. pork production in 2019. 

Export value per head averaged $53.51, up four percent of 2018. 

“China was the main driver for the record-breaking pace of U.S. pork exports during the last year,” says David Newman, president of the National Pork Board. “We are poised to help China fill its protein gap caused by the recent African Swine Fever outbreak.” 

He also says that the U.S. pork industry is focusing on recapturing lost market share with key customers and investing in research to develop emerging markets. 

While exports to China were higher last year, key customers like Japan and Mexico, the number one export markets in terms of value and volume, respectively, saw significant drops as the U.S. negotiated new trade deals with each country.