2019 was a banner year for U.S. pork exports in terms of volume and value, reaching almost $7 billion. 

That comes from USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Exports of U.S. beef were below 2019’s record levels, while lamb export volume was the second-largest on record. 

Pork exports rose to just over 282,000 metric tons in December, up 34 percent year-over-year and surpassing the previous high set in November of 2019 by nine percent. 

Export value was $760 million, up 44 percent from the previous year, breaking the previous record also set in November of 2019. 

These results pushed 2019 pork exports 10 percent above the previous year in volume and nine percent higher in value. 

December beef exports were a little over 111,000 metric tons, down one percent from last year, and valued at $682 million, a three percent drop. Exports in 2019 were down 2.5 percent from the previous year’s record volume, finishing at 1.32 million metric tons. 

The surge in pork demand was due in part to Chinese and Hong Kong demand for U.S. pork, which climbed to almost 110,900 metric tons in December. 

That’s more than quadruple the previous year’s volume. The value was six times higher than last year at the same time, totaling almost $275 million.