Surging Pork Exports to Central America
U.S. pork exports remained strong in 2018, despite trade disruptions, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Illinois ranks fourth in the U.S. in pork production, and 77 percent of the soybean meal fed in Illinois goes to pork production.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program has funded pork promotion efforts with USMEF in Central America, where surging exports have offset decreases in other regions of the world. A free trade agreement between the U.S., Central America and the Dominican Republic helped unlock the potential of this market. U.S. pork exports set volume records throughout Central America, increasing 23 percent from 2016 to 2018, and most of these countries have become top-20 markets for U.S. pork.