While beef exports are poised for a record-setting year, there are still barriers limiting exports.

Keith Belk, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, said non-tariff barriers and limited global trade restrict the potential for large global growth.

“About 4 percent of your customers actually reside in the United States,” Belk said at the Iowa Cattlemen’s As­­soc­iation’s (ICA) meeting recently. “Ninety-six percent of your potential growth lies outside the boundaries of the United States.”

That 96 percent comes into clearer focus when thinking about trade...