With rising grain prices, due largely to expansion of corn-based ethanol production, returns to U.S. red meat production are generally lower than in recent years, slowing beef and pork production gains, particularly in 2010-15, according to USDA's new 10-year projection figures.
Higher levels of total per capita meat consumption are projected over the next decade, largely reflecting continued increases in poultry consumption. On a retail-weight basis, per capita consumption rises to 231 pounds from the 2005 level of 220 pounds.
Pork consumption remains stable at about 50-51 pounds per person throughout the projections. Although declining toward the end of the projections, per capita consumption of beef remains at relatively high levels through the baseline because of strong domestic demand for high-quality beef. Additionally, although beef exports grow, they do not return to 2003 levels in the projections, thereby limiting price increases seen by U.S. consumers.
Per capita consumption of relatively lower priced poultry increases throughout the baseline, allowing poultry to gain a larger share of total meat consumption and meat expenditures.
U.S. pork exports benefit from reduced beef exports as import demand shifts among competing meats. Pacific Rim nations and Mexico remain key markets for long-term growth of U.S. pork exports.
Canada continues to be a strong competitor in these markets. Brazil also is a major pork exporter. However, without nationwide FMD-free status, Brazil focuses its pork exports on Russia, Argentina, and Asian markets other than Japan and South Korea.
While increased efficiency in U.S. pork production limits production-cost increases and enhances the competitiveness of U.S. pork products, longer term gains in U.S. pork exports will be determined by costs of production and environmental regulations relative to competitors. Such costs tend to be lower in countries with growing pork industries, such as Brazil.