USMEF Board Meeting Kicks off in Kansas City
Chairman Mark Jagels welcomes USMEF members to the Board of Directors Meeting and Product Showcase in Kansas City
The USMEF Board of Directors Meeting and Product Showcase got underway in Kansas City, Missouri, Wednesday afternoon, drawing a record-large turnout of 250 members from a broad cross-section of the meat industry and 120 international buyers.
In his welcome remarks at the Opening General Session, USMEF Chairman Mark Jagels thanked member organizations for their support for red meat exports and commitment to the international markets.
“I look at the diversity of USMEF’s membership as one of our biggest strengths,” Jagels said. “We truly have the most diverse membership of any red meat organization in existence. The broad representation of USMEF’s membership and your commitment in terms of time, expertise and financial investment are what make USMEF great and allow us to achieve success internationally.”
Jagels reviewed first-quarter export results for U.S. beef and pork, which were up substantially from a year ago despite tight supplies and a number of market access challenges. He provided a brief overview of market conditions and trends in Mexico, South Korea, China/Hong Kong and Japan, noting that these and other key markets will be discussed in greater detail at Thursday’s Beef and Allied Industries Committee and Pork and Allied Industries Committee meetings.
USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng struck a similar tone in his president’s address, calling the growth of red meat exports one of U.S. agriculture’s most significant achievements.
Keynote speaker James Lochner, chief operating officer, Tyson Foods Inc.
“Between the beef and the pork complex, we’ve seen exports expand to more than $12 billion annually,” Seng noted. “This is truly one of the fastest-growing sectors in all of agriculture and one of the U.S. economy’s best success stories.”
Keynote speaker James Lochner, chief operating officer of Tyson Foods Inc., addressed attendees on the tremendous impact exports have on producer profitability, and explained how this helps drive revenue for all sectors of the U.S. meat industry.
Wednesday’s activities concluded with a panel discussion on developing and emerging markets. Moderated by John Brook, USMEF regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, this session focused on the export opportunities available in regions such as West Africa, central Asia and Latin America, but panelists also provided fascinating insights into the unique risks and challenges involved in serving these markets.
Thursday’s agenda will begin with a panel discussion on the impact of social media on exports, followed by meetings of USMEF’s standing committees (Exporter, Beef and Allied Industries and Pork and Allied Industries) and the Feedgrain & Oilseeds Caucus. The USMEF Product Showcase, which has attracted its largest-ever number of both buyers and exhibitors, highlights the late afternoon/evening schedule.
A panel on developing and emerging markets featured (from left) Mercer Meat Company President Howard Milner, Lamex Foods Beef Product Manager Rob Preska, Interra International VP of Sales for Mexico and Latin America John Donofrio and moderator John Brook