Audio: U.S. Red Meat Production Rebound Great News for Customers, at Home and Abroad

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U.S. beef and pork production encountered significant challenges in April and May as processing facilities implemented worker safety measures related to COVID-19, raising concerns about available supplies. But as Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO explains, production has rebounded significantly in recent weeks. He says this underscores the U.S. industry’s ability to serve both domestic and international customers.

Halstrom notes that for the week ending June 27, U.S. cattle slaughter was the second largest of 2020 at 680,000 head, up 4% from the previous week and 1.5% above a year ago. Live cattle weights averaged 1,369 pounds, up 50 pounds from last year. Hog slaughter was estimated at 2.64 million head, up 11% year-over-year and the fourth consecutive week above year ago levels, with live weights up 8 pounds from a year ago to 291 pounds.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider.