U.S. beef exports eclipsed the $6 billion mark for the first time in 2013, setting a new annual value record, according to the recent year-end summary from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Totals for 2013 were up 3% in volume to 1.17 million metric tons and 12% in value  to $6.157 billion.

The export value per head of fed slaughter in the U.S. was also record-high in 2013 at $244.96/head, up $28.23 from 2012.

U.S. beef exports in 2013 equated to 13.2% of total beef production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 10.4% of muscle cuts alone, up from 12.7% and 9.8% in 2012.

“2013 presented a new set of challenges,” says USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “Last year, the closure of the Russian market to U.S. red meat products and our continued absence from the dynamic beef market in the People’s Republic of China stand out. And there were challenges in other markets, ranging from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. The industry is focused on these challenges and USMEF is targeting the markets where we have the best chance of succeeding and creating a positive return for American producers and exporters.”

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