Idaho sees booming beef exports

JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) U.S. beef exports saw substantial increases in both value and volume from 2017-2018, according to data from U.S. Department of Agriculture and the, U.S. Meat Export Federation. In fact, value increased by more than $1 billion, hitting a record of $8.33 billion for the year 2018.

"Beef industry has actually been doing pretty darn good," Scarrow Meats owner, Don Scarrow says. "It was soft six, eight, 10 months or so ago, but it's been steadily on the uptick mainly on the large scale with the exports."

Much of that increase in exports is attributed to a growing demand in beef, primarily among nations such as Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

"Beef exports are booming," President and CEO of Intermountain Beef Cevin Jones says. "We've done really well over in Japan, the generation over there is moving away from seafood based diets to more protein based diets."

And Jones says South Korea has been a huge plus for exporters.

"We've gotten free trade access over, so everything's going in pretty much duty free, and we're seeing a huge increase in Korean trade," Jones says.

However, Jones says Japan still remains America's biggest market for beef, something that could be threatened if a trade deal is reached between the two nations soon.

"Australia is going to start getting a very big benefit in exports due to lower tariffs in Japan than what U.S. producers are going to have, and that's going to impact our number one market beef," Jones says.

In fact, nations such as Australia, are scheduled to see tariffs on fresh and frozen beef cut to 26 percent by April 1, while American beef exporters will have a tariff of 38 percent. Jones says negotiations between the current administration and Japan is critical for American beef.

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