Pork exports in July soared and kept on pace to set a new export value record in 2011, according to trade statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

July pork exports totaled 186,501.7 tons valued at $480.06 million – an increase of 16% in volume and 24% in value. These figures push the 2011 total to 1.375 million tons worth $3.3 billion – increases of 14% and 20%, respectively, over last year. July exports equated to 28.7% of production valued at $59.35/head, compared to 23.8% and $45.95 in July 2010. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3% of production and a per-head value of $53.63.

“July was another outstanding month for red meat exports, as we continued to expand the presence of U.S. beef and pork throughout the world,” says USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “This is a testament to the commitment U.S. producers and exporters have made to the international markets. Despite market access restrictions, high tariffs and other trade barriers, the investments we are making in foreign markets are paying tremendous dividends. And this success couldn’t come at a better time, as it is adding jobs to the U.S. economy and delivering much-needed returns to our farmers and ranchers. Those producers are dealing with high operating costs, adverse weather and many other significant challenges, and the export markets are clearly the best thing they have going in terms of profitability.”

With an impressive sales performance in July of $157.6 million, U.S. pork sales to Japan shot past the $1 billion mark for the seventh consecutive year. Coming off a record value year of more than $1.6 billion in 2010, exports to Japan were up 11% in volume through July at 316,213 tons and up 14% in value at just over $1.1 billion.

Pork exports to South Korea continued their surge with a wider range of pork cuts entering Korea’s retail and foodservice sectors. Exports rose 144% in volume through July at nearly 150,000 tons and nearly tripled in value to $343.4 million, USMEF reports.

Mexico’s purchases of U.S. pork exports slid 4% in volume at 330,257 tons, and remained steady in value ranking second to Japan at $561 million.

U.S. pork exports to China through the first seven months of the year totaled 168,285 tons valued at $244.6 million. USMEF says volume is higher and value is only slightly lower than the pace established in 2008, when pork exports to China reached an all-time high.

More trade details are available at www.USMEF.org.