August 21, 2008


US beef exports recovering to pre-BSE levels


US beef exports in the first half of 2008 reached 445,036 tonnes, valued at US$1.58 billion, up 30 percent in volume and 39 percent in value, according to the USDA.


Exports in the first half of the year reached 71 percent of the value achieved in the same time period of 2003, as well as 87 percent of the value before the US had its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease.


In June alone, beef and beef variety meat exports surged 35 percent to 89,054 tonnes, valued at US$328 million.


As people around the world becomes more well off, especially in China and India where about 300 million people have moved into the middle-income bracket, the US has a great opportunity to meet the growing demand for protein worldwide, according to Dennis Gengenbach, vice chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.


Although the South Korean market has reopened to US beef, but the US has only regained about 60 percent of the pre-BSE market both in Japan and South Korea, who are key US beef importers.


"That's costing the US beef industry about US$50 million a week," Gengenbach said, before adding, "Just think if we can regain that last 40 percent, and the revenue that would generate for Nebraska cattle producers."

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