The U.S. Meat Export Federation Strategic Planning Conference opened Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., with a wide range of guest speakers, each of whom offered a unique perspective on the importance of red meat exports.
Dr. Harry Kaiser, a Cornell University economist, presented the findings of his recently completed study on the effectiveness of USMEF's foreign marketing efforts. "An Economic Analysis of the U.S. Meat Export Federation's Export Market Development Programs" was commissioned by USMEF to quantify the returns that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service and the beef, pork, corn and soybean checkoff programs receive from their investments in USMEF's export market development programs. The independent study was funded by the USDA and Dr. Kaiser was chosen from several researchers who proposed to do the research. The economic model showed that combined producer and USDA marketing expenditures increased U.S. red meat exports by more than 30% per year. He told the conference that when comparing this study with 16 other similar studies of other commodities USMEF's programs have had a larger impact on import demand than the majority of other programs or similar programs for other commodities.
Bill Rupp, president of JBS USA's beef division, also addressed the audience on the importance of exports, driving home the critical role the international markets play in his company's profitability.
John Bellinger, CEO of Food Safety Net and Agri-West International, spoke not only to the importance of exports to the U.S. meat industry, but also to the health of the entire U.S. economy.
USMEF Chairman Keith Miller and President and CEO Philip Seng also addressed the opening general session audience, recapping export results in 2011 and discussing the challenges that lie ahead. Market updates were provided by regional directors who represent USMEF in Japan, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
Thursday's general session will include a global market review and updates from China, Taiwan, South Korea and the ASEAN region.