Exports Highlighted as Key to Cattle Price Recovery
Iowa cattle producers Dean Black (far left) and Linda Cline speak with USMEF’s John Hinners and Philip Seng at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Diego
Thousands of cattle producers from across the nation gathered in San Diego this week for the Cattle Industry Annual Convention. With producers enduring a sharp decline in cattle prices in the second half of 2015, many of the event’s presentations centered on factors that can help fuel a price recovery – with a rebound in U.S. beef exports topping the list.
“Even during this difficult time for the industry, producer support for expanding global demand for U.S. beef is steadfast, and that is very gratifying to see,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “Cattle producers also recognize that the United States is in a period of aggressive herd rebuilding, and this presents tremendous opportunities for industry growth. But we can only capitalize on these opportunities if we are equally aggressive about promoting our product and expanding our international customer base.”
Throughout the week, producers visited the USMEF trade show booth to receive information explaining the importance of beef exports to their bottom lines and how the Beef Checkoff Program supports market development activities in key international destinations. Exports were also high on the list of topics of interest for media covering the convention, as Seng conducted numerous interviews with radio, television and print reporters.
Members of the Checkoff Export Growth Committee sample Korea-themed dishes featuring U.S. beef
The Checkoff Export Growth Committee met Friday afternoon to weigh industry priorities related to international marketing and discuss how these activities support the goals of the beef industry’s 2016-2020 long range plan. Seng addressed the committee on key market access issues, including animal traceability. He noted that while traceability was once viewed as a non-tariff trade barrier, that outlook has changed due to the number of competitors that are leveraging traceability systems to their advantage when promoting beef internationally.
Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing, and Greg Hanes, assistant vice president for international marketing and programs, presented the committee with updates on marketing activities and strategies in key markets, with particular focus on Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Halstrom also discussed recent efforts to bolster U.S. beef’s presence in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Also addressing the committee was John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. With U.S. beef producers hoping to regain access to the Chinese market in the near future, Masswohl shared his observations on the opportunities on which Canadian beef has capitalized in China, as well as the obstacles Canada still faces.
Following the meeting, Export Growth Committee members enjoyed samples of Korean dishes prepared with U.S. beef – including LA galbi made with bone-in short rib, bulgogi prepared with top blade and a zucchini and beef dish featuring ground chuck roll.