Global beef exports have hit an all-time record for volume and value, adding more value to U.S. beef cattle and providing markets for products not currently used in this country.

Those international markets for beef variety meats boosted exports by 15% in 2022 compared to 2021, accounting for $1.24 billion of the total $11.68 billion in U.S. beef exports. John Hinners, senior vice president of industry relations for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, says, “Beef exports add nearly $450 per head of fed slaughter value. Global export value is up 10% from the previous record and nearly 40% above the previous five-year average.”

Total U.S. beef exports in 2022 hit 1.47 metric tons. The top eight importers of U.S. beef include South Korea, China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Colombia, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

“Exports are at all all-time high in both volume and value,” says Norman Voyles Jr., former Cattlemen’s Beef Board chair. “And the really great thing about that is it’s not necessarily rib-eyes and T-bones that are going overseas. There’s demand for beef lips that are bringing $1.30 per pound, or tongue that’s bringing over $2 a pound, and in the U.S. those parts of the beef animal would likely be rendered.”

CBB partners with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to develop international demand for U.S. beef in prospective markets through USMEF’s 17 offices worldwide.

“We’re adding a lot of value to that beef animal,” Voyles says. “Exports have added somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 per fed animal back to the industry.”

Japan, China/Hong Kong and South Korea were the three largest export markets for 2022, and exports remain strong to Canada and Mexico. New markets have also been added in recent years in South America, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Dubai.