August was a solid month for both U.S. beef and pork exports as both easily outpaced the results of August 2009 and increased their gains over the cumulative totals from the first eight months of 2009, reports the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Beef exports for the month increased 24 percent in volume and 43 percent in value compared to August 2009, totaling 92,579 metric tons valued at $373.7 million. The cumulative January-August totals were up 16 percent in volume (680,609 metric tons) and 27 percent in value ($2.57 billion). This value total is 9 percent higher than the corresponding pre-BSE value total from January-August 2003. Korea remains the largest growth market, with exports of 73,625 metric tons valued at $345 million (an increase of 131 percent and 175 percent, respectively).

On a per-head basis, beef exports equated to $159.60 per steer and heifer slaughtered in August - up from about $120.00 in August 2009. Export value for January-August equated to $144.32 per head compared to $115.25 a year ago. Exports made up 11.4 percent of production, up from 9.7 percent last year.

August pork exports were up 9 percent in volume and 16 percent in value over last year, totaling 146,459 metric tons valued at $369 million. For January through August, exports totaled 1.244 million metric tons valued at $3.11 billion. The volume is 3 percent higher than 2009, while the value is up 9 percent over last year and trails the record pace of 2008 by just 3 percent. Mexico ($644 million, up 32 percent) and Canada ($409 million, up 25 percent) led pork export value growth, but exports to Japan (the largest value market for U.S. pork) were also up 3 percent in value to $1.09 billion.

On a per-head basis, pork export value was $40.87 in August, up from $34.50 last year. For January-August, export value was $43.92 compared to $38.79 last year. Exports as a percent of total production equated to 22.4 percent in August and nearly 24 percent for the year. Both figures are up slightly from August 2009 (20 percent) and January-August 2009 (22.4 percent).

Source: USMEF

Sara Lee awards $500,000 prize in corn dog contest to Tennessee teacher

State Fair Corn Dogs today awarded a grand prize check for $500,000 to the winner of its Dream Home Sweepstakes. Sarah Stevens of East Tennessee accepted her prize on the main stage at the annual Food City Food Show held in Knoxville, Tenn.

“In the tough economic climate of the past year, through this sweepstakes, we were able to offer an amazing prize with the potential to change our winner’s life,” said Daryl Gormley, general manager breakfast and snacking, Sara Lee North American Retail. “Not unlike the State Fair brand, the Stevens family loves having fun and spending quality time together. We hope that the Stevens family will be able to use this money to help bring the family together not only in the kitchen at mealtime, but throughout their entire home in the future.”

Stevens purchased her winning corn dogs at the Food City in her hometown, which is why the annual Food Show, which attracts more than 20,000 attendees, was chosen for the check presentation. During the presentation representatives from the brand as well as Food City were on-hand to congratulate Stevens and her husband on their win.

“I could not believe it when I heard I won,” said Stevens. “There are so many little things I’ve always wanted to do with our home, but we usually change or upgrade the necessities first. With this money I’m going to be able to do so much to improve our home for my family.”

“We were thrilled to learn that one of our customers was selected as the grand prize winner of the State Fair Corn Dogs Dream Home Sweepstakes,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “On behalf of the entire company, I would like to thank Mrs. Stevens for choosing Food City and congratulate her on this exciting prize.”

Source: Sara Lee Corp.