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Indiana Ag Community Hosts USMEF

Published: Nov 08, 2012
The Indiana agriculture community turned out en masse this week to welcome the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to Indianapolis for its annual Strategic Planning Conference and to salute Indiana’s own Danita Rodibaugh at her last meeting as USMEF chairman.

The invitation by the Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Corn, the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Pork to host the USMEF meeting in Indianapolis was designed to give the state’s agriculture leaders more exposure to USMEF’s international staff and deeper insights into the ever-changing international market conditions that are critical to American red meat exports.

“I have had the opportunity to travel around the world as part of our international trade committee, and I am excited to see the USMEF label wherever I travel,” said Don Villwock, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau. “Trade has to be one of the keys to feeding the 9 billion people” projected to populate the Earth by 2050.

While welcoming USMEF to Indianapolis, Villwock also lauded Rodibaugh for her efforts on behalf of agriculture.

“Danita is one of the great leaders of agriculture, both in Indiana and in the whole country,” said Villwock.

Rodibaugh’s family farm operation in Rensselaer, Ind., produces corn, soybeans, wheat and purebred seedstock swine. Prior to becoming active with USMEF, she served as a member of the board of directors of the National Pork Producers Council and is past president of the National Pork Board.

The State of Indiana has played an important role in USMEF’s first 36 years. In addition to Rodibaugh, three other natives of the state have served as chairman of USMEF: Dennis Erpelding of Elanco (USMEF chairman in 2007); USMEF Distinguished Service Award winner John Hardin, a pork producer from Danville, Ind., (1995); and Scott Chandler (1987).”

“We are very proud of USMEF’s connection to the State of Indiana and the outstanding leadership it has brought to us,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“This meeting is a great opportunity to give Indiana’s agriculture leaders an inside look at the international markets that last year bought more than $11.5 billion of American beef, pork and lamb products,” said Rodibaugh. “It is important for us to understand how our Checkoff dollars are being invested and to see the benefits that USMEF programs are providing to the agriculture sector in Indiana and around the country.”

Rodibaugh noted that even with challenging economic conditions in many export markets coupled with a drought across much of the United States this year driving up the cost of livestock production, the export market continues to be a bright spot, remaining on pace to exceed the all-time record-high export values set last year.

Through the first eight months of 2012, U.S. pork exports stand at 1,473,580 metric tons (3.25 billion pounds) valued at more than $4.1 billion, increases of 2 percent in volume and 8 percent in value versus 2011. Beef exports are up 2 percent in value on 11 percent lower volume, totaling 759,901 metric tons (1.68 billion pounds) valued at nearly $3.7 billion.