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Final Wrap-up from USMEF Board of Directors Meeting

Published: May 28, 2013
The USMEF Board of Directors Meeting concluded Friday in Washington, D.C. At the closing business session, the board adopted new resolutions in the following areas:
  • Supporting a comprehensive approach to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers for U.S. beef, pork and lamb.
  • Working with U.S. trade officials and other stakeholders to engage in educational outreach efforts with foreign governments in order to stop the use of non-science-based standards and the precautionary philosophy behind them.
  • Working with technology providers to the red meat industry, as well as producers and processors, to explore options for developing and implementing a technology innovation stewardship policy for the industry which ensures close coordination and communication among all members of the value chain in conducting market and trade assessments of new technology products before these products are introduced into the U.S. market. A separate staff directive calls on USMEF to establish a working group to create this technology innovation stewardship policy.

Chairman Steve Isaf (center) addresses USMEF members along with National Pork Board President Conley Nelson (left) of Algona, Iowa, and Parkfield, Calif., cattle rancher Kevin Kester, who serves as vice-chair of the USMEF Beef and Allied Industries Committee

In keeping with his industry unity theme of “Many Shoes, One Path,” USMEF Chairman Steve Isaf thanked members for a productive meeting and for engaging in a constructive conversation about how USMEF sectors can better work together to expand U.S. meat exports.

“USMEF members need to be aligned in what we are doing,” he said. “We need to maintain a shared vision of delivering products to our customers around the world. And sometimes, creative tension is a good thing because we need to be able to work through issues that are difficult. That’s how we will achieve greatness, and be everything we want USMEF to be.”

USMEF members also heard from several guest speakers, including Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland. She recently returned from Japan and Taiwan where she conducted international beef marketing research as part of a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland reports on her Eisenhower Fellowship research conducted in Japan and Taiwan

“I went to these markets to better understand the links between the history of the country, the culture of the country – and food,” Ruhland explained. “Specifically I examined beef production and consumption, and more specifically differentiation through branding.” Ruhland had high praise for USMEF staff in Tokyo and Taipei who assisted her in meeting her research objectives.

“I want to thank USMEF from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “While I was in these countries, the staff helped me tremendously by introducing me to people, explaining things to me and being so patient with all of my questions.”

Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, assistant U.S. trade representative for agricultural affairs and commodity policy, addressed USMEF members regarding USTR’s current priorities and explained how the agency works with USDA and the industry to address market access challenges for U.S. agricultural products.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen

Melanie Fitzpatrick, director of markets and strategy for the United Soybean Board, reported on her experiences during the 2013 USMEF Market Expo in Peru and Panama. She encouraged member organizations to send a representative on the 2014 Market Expo, the locations for which will be announced at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in November.

The next board of directors meeting will be Nov. 5-7 at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.