Adding Value to U.S. Meat Exports

Adding Value to U.S. Meat Exports

The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Spring Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a time to highlight the success of America’s meat exports in overseas markets. Dean Meyer of Rock Rapids, Iowa, is the current USMEF Chair. He says promoting red meat overseas adds a lot of extra value to American commodities.

“Taking those trips internationally gave me an appreciation and understanding of the dynamics in those countries and why they want variety meats and our underutilized cuts. They want those cuts over there, and it helped me understand why. Believe me, they know how to prepare them. I like them over there. You know, those variety meats that are undesirable here because we don’t know how to prepare them, it’s not our culture here to prepare them, and that’s what adds that value to the carcass. That extra 50-60 dollars in beef, and 10-12 dollars in pork.”

Meyer’s term as chair ends in November, and he talks about some things he’d like to accomplish between now and then.

“We’re in really challenging times in a lot of livestock industries, and because of the work of this organization with checkoff dollars, exports are the shining light. We look especially at the pork side, my goal is hoping to see that coming to fruition, where it comes back to the pork producer. And the challenges in the beef industry, that contraction in the herd. We need to maintain those markets. We don’t want to lose market share and certainly don’t want to get out of those markets. Another thing is the U.S.-Mexico(-Canada) Trade Agreement. It’s an extremely important market for us to maintain that integrity, and to strengthening that market is so important to us. And my goal is that we can be on good relations with him when I leave office.”

Randy Spronk of Edgerton, Minnesota, is the Chair-Elect and talks about some of his goals as the upcoming chair.

“Obviously, increase exports of beef, pork, and lamb worldwide, you know, and I think the biggest news that’s come out of here is some of the things that are happening in Europe with a reduction of their herds. They have always been the number one competitor that we bump up against in some of the Asian markets. And with their reduction, and you see the reduction that they’re having in their exports, it gives us more opportunities to be able to export more. And so, what you gotta realize is whether it’s beef, pork or lamb, it’s not just for those. We see it here, the support of the corn and soybean growers, because it does help them and raise their prices too.”

Sustainability is a buzzword in news headlines, and Spronk says agriculture needs to  share its sustainability story.

“I think we never do enough. It’s very interesting. I think one of the biggest ones that’s kind of coming out within agriculture, they talk about sustainability. It’s not about global warming, but it’s really about how we take the resources that we utilize in agriculture and how we produce safe, affordable, and abundant protein with that. And so, in an answer back to a lot of the activists, I think we need to measure what we do. I think we need to be transparent and show what we do here. And by doing that, I’m pretty sure we can gain confidence from society, and they’ll trust us in what we do each and every day with those resources.”