After a record year for U.S. pork exports in 2017, the Pork Checkoff is redoubling its international marketing efforts in 2018. Through strategic partnerships, the Checkoff is continuing to focus on increasing pork exports and delivering greater returns to pork producers.

The National Pork Board’s 2018 budget earmarks $8,697,924 for international marketing – the highest level ever. The funds are being strategically invested in five key areas to create and implement a comprehensive international marketing strategy. Each is a fundamental component for continued success.

  1. Investment in the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Increased

The Pork Checkoff works with the USMEF to research and develop new markets and expand the existing customer base for U.S. pork. The 2018 budget allocates $6.45 million for the USMEF to bolster its efforts to promote U.S. pork products overseas in three categories: Established markets, emerging markets and minor markets.

The USMEF budget allows for specific allocations in certain target countries. For example, this includes $1.8 million to be invested in marketing programs in the established Japanese market and $613,000 in the rapidly growing Mexican market.

5.399 billion pounds of pork and pork variety meats exported in 2017

  1. Partnership with APEX Maintained

In 2018, $1.6 million will be invested in the American Pork Export Trading Company (APEX) to gather critical in-country intelligence and conduct analyses that generate valuable insights concerning foreign market barriers and unfair trade practices that may undermine the ability to export U.S. pork. Key insights are used by the Checkoff and its strategic partners to better target international marketing efforts.


  1. International Marketing Committee Restructured

To meet the Checkoff’s international marketing goals, the National Pork Board recently renamed and restructured its International Marketing Committee, formerly known as the Trade Committee. In 2018, nearly $300,000 of Checkoff funds will be invested in strategic committee work in-country.

This action reflects a need to consolidate the committee to focus more intently on international marketing strategy and to vigorously engage pork’s export markets and partners. The restructured committee, reduced from 27 to 11 voting members, will facilitate quicker decision-making and allow members to gain more in-depth knowledge of international marketing.

  1. U.S. Pork Highlighted at World Meat Congress

This spring in Dallas, $248,000 of Checkoff funds will help sponsor the 22nd Annual World Meat Congress. The bi-annual conference, held in a major meat-producing country, brings together 1,000 of the world’s meat industry thought leaders.

The conference provides a historic opportunity to gather critical insights and showcase the superiority of U.S. pork production to key international customers.

  1. Research Investments to Defend Markets

An additional $100,000 has been allocated for a reserve fund that will be used to address emerging scientific or technical issues that threaten U.S. pork exports and may require immediate research. The funds will allow the Checkoff to rapidly address any threats to export markets and to respond swiftly.

There is no doubt that 2018 – and beyond – will be defined by our industry’s ability to market U.S. pork abroad. This year’s increased Checkoff investment will help capitalize on export opportunities that 2018 will bring and continue to set the stage for even greater success.