A government report says U.S. beef and pork exports hit record highs last year because of stronger demand, particularly in Asian countries.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said Wednesday that beef exports totaled 2.79 billion pounds in 2011, up 21 percent from 2010. The total value was about $4.6 billion, up 34 percent.
Pork exports increased 23 percent to 5.2 billion pounds. The total value was about $4.7 billion, up 33 percent.
The agency says demand for beef is improving because of stronger economies in developing countries such as China and slower growth in cattle herds globally. China also is helping strengthen demand for U.S. pork as it works to ease price inflation.
Beef exports are forecast to decline slightly in 2012. Pork exports are expected to be flat.