3/18 – In last week’s Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook, the USDA highlighted strong U.S. protein exports in 2018 driven by “domestic production increases and favorable foreign demand.” The USDA reported 2018 beef exports up 10.3%; pork +4.2%; broiler +4.1% and dairy products +9.5%. Eggs, down 6.1% and turkey -1.8% were the notable exceptions. Exports grew despite trade complications. For example, as a result of retaliatory tariffs in the 2nd half of the year, pork exports to Mexico were down 20.2% in 2018. Mexico bought 34.0% of all U.S. pork exports in 2017. That share dropped to 26.5% in 2018. U.S. pork producers compensated by increasing 2018 sales to Chili (+164%), Columbia (+108%), Panama (+26%), S. Korea (+31%) and Australia (+24) – but it’s important to note that price discounting was often required to move the excess inventory.