Short-term forecasts call for a challenging time for U.S. pork producers in 2022 as the export market remains stagnant fueled by war in Ukraine, decreasing domestic production numbers, a pork surplus in Europe and China’s industry rebuild following an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

Dermot Hayes, professor of economics at Iowa State University, told a standing room-only crowd at the 2022 World Pork Expo last week that U.S. pork exports have decreased 20% year-over-year following an export surge after China experienced an ASF outbreak in 2018-2019.  

During that outbreak, China purchased an abundance of pork from the United States and Europe, but has since rebuilt its domestic herd at an incredibly rapid pace.

China re-entering the market, coupled with other global factors such as the war and decreased overall production in the U.S., will create some challenges this year, Hayes said.

“China … it’s the story,” Hayes said. “Half the pork in the world is consumed in China.