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Vetter, Gustafson to Receive USMEF Awards

Published: Oct 18, 2016
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The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has announced the recipients of its Michael J. Mansfield Award and Distinguished Service Award. Both will be presented at the USMEF 40th Anniversary & Strategic Planning Conference, Nov. 2-4 in Carlsbad, California.

The Mansfield Award recipient is Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The award is presented in honor of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Michael J. Mansfield, who helped form the foundation for advancement of U.S. trade relations throughout the world.

USMEF’s Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the pursuit of USMEF’s export goals. This year’s honoree is Mark Gustafson, a longtime meat industry leader and international trade specialist. Prior to launching the consulting firm Gustafson & Associates, he spent 38 years working to advance red meat exports for JBS, Swift and Company, ConAgra International, USMEF and Monfort of Colorado.


Joe Schuele: The U.S. Meat Export Federation announced that it will honor Ambassador Darci Vetter, the chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, with its Michael J. Mansfield Award. Longtime meat industry leader Mark Gustafson will receive the organization’s Distinguished Service Award. We will hear from both in this USMEF report. The Mansfield Award is named for the former Montana senator who also served as the longtime U.S. Ambassador to Japan. This definitely struck a chord with Vetter.

Darci Vetter: Its namesake, Senator Mansfield, was really a great statesman, and when you work in the international trade arena you look to people who think about relationships in the long haul and how we can foster those. So that is an honor in and of itself. But the fact that the award is coming from USMEF, when they are a group of people and experts that I so respect, is really quite an honor. I have so enjoyed working with the team from USMEF. They can be our eyes and ears on the ground to tell us whether protocols or negotiations that we’ve completed are actually working, they can help us identify problems before they become real trade issues, and so we see them as a critical partner and a very reliable one.

Joe Schuele: Gustafson, who has had a 38-year career in international meat sales, was honored to be recognized by his peers.

Mark Gustafson: It’s a tremendous honor. It’s really bestowed by the leaders of our industry that have participated with USMEF, and a lot of the people that I work with, it makes it even more special. To be part of USMEF, almost back to its inception and all the way through, to watch the progress that the industry has made it’s tremendously satisfying. And so to be honored with that award is very, very special to me.

Joe Schuele: For more on these awards, please visit For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.