Despite challenges - U.S. poultry, egg and pork exports surpassed previous records for value and volume in 2012. While international beef sales dipped slightly in volume - the previous value record was exceeded. A record year for meat exports is good news for the nation’s soybean growers as it helps keep domestic demand for U.S. soy strong. Soy meal constitutes a significant portion of animal feeds - so growing U.S. meat and poultry exports reinforce demand for U.S. soy. Domestic animal agriculture is the U.S. soy industry’s number one customer - using about 98-percent of the domestic supply of U.S. soy meal. United Soybean Board farmer-leader John Butler says exporting meat and poultry is a big issue for U.S. soybean farmers. He says feeding animals soybeans here and selling them abroad creates a value-added product. Adding that value here - Butler says - has a tremendous positive impact on the U.S. soy industry and the national economy.
According to the most recent statistics - poultry consume roughly 12.9-million metric tons of U.S. soy meal each year. That’s the meal from 601-million bushels of soybeans. Hogs account for 6.8-million metric tons of U.S. soy meal - or the meal from 318-million bushels of soybeans. To support the largest customers of U.S. soy meal - the soy checkoff partners with organizations like the U.S. Meat Export Federation and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to market U.S. meat and poultry abroad.