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Key Topic – Corn and Soybeans

Animal agriculture is the largest customer for the U.S. soybean and corn industries, and red meat exports are critical to the viability of animal agriculture in the United States. Soybean and corn producers recognize the importance of red meat exports to their own profitability, and are strong supporters of USMEF. About 8% of USMEF’s total funding comes from the soybean checkoff and about 7% from the corn checkoff.

Every pound of U.S. pork exported represents the utilization of about 0.91 pounds of U.S. soybean meal. Every pound of U.S. beef exported represents the utilization of about 2.6 pounds of U.S. feedgrains.

In August 2021, USMEF released an updated version of the independent study aimed at quantifying the value red meat exports provide to U.S. corn and soybean producers. The original study was conducted in 2016 with updates also released in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Key findings from the latest version, which utilizes 2020 export data, include:

Value of Red Meat Exports’ Feed Use of Soybeans and Corn in 2020
  • U.S. pork exports used 2.45 million tons of soybean meal, which is the equivalent of 103.2 million bushels of soybeans. At an average annual price of $8.98/bushel, pork exports accounted for $927 million in market value to the soybean industry.
  • Beef and pork exports used 530.5 million bushels of corn. At an average annual price of $3.52/bushel, beef and pork exports accounted for $1.87 billion in market value to the corn industry.
  • Beef and pork exports also used 3.03 million tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) at an annual average price of $154.59/ton, generating $468 million in market value for ethanol mills’ co-products.

Value to U.S. Corn and Soybean Crop from Red Meat Exports
  • In 2020, beef and pork exports contributed 41 cents per bushel, or 11.5% of the average annual price of $3.52/bushel. With total production of 14.18 billion bushels, the value of red meat exports to the U.S. corn crop was $5.8 billion, meaning corn growers would have lost $5.8 billion in value if there were no beef and pork exports.
  • In 2020, pork exports contributed $1.06 per bushel, or 12% of the average annual price of $8.98/bushel. With total production of 4.14 billion bushels, the value of pork exports was $4.4 billion to the U.S. soybean crop, meaning soybean producers would have lost $4.4 billion in value if there were no pork exports.

Handouts detailing the impact of red meat exports at the national level and on the leading corn-producing and soybean-producing states are available from the USMEF website.