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USMEF Conference Kicks Off in Tucson

Published: Nov 03, 2011
The USMEF 35th Anniversary Strategic Planning Conference opened Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., with a wide range of guest speakers, each of whom offered a unique perspective on the importance of red meat exports.

Dr. Harry Kaiser, a Cornell University economist, presented the findings of his recently completed study on the effectiveness of USMEF’s foreign marketing efforts. “An Economic Analysis of the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Export Market Development Programs” was commissioned by USMEF to quantify the returns that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the beef, pork, corn and soybean checkoff programs receive from their investments in USMEF’s export market development programs. The independent study was funded by the USDA and Dr. Kaiser was chosen from several researchers who proposed to do the research.

“Basically what we found is very good news,” Dr. Kaiser told the audience. “The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s beef and pork market development programs were found to have a positive and statistically significant impact on imports of U.S. red meat in all of the eight markets that were analyzed.”

The economic model showed that combined producer and USDA marketing expenditures increased U.S. red meat exports by more than 30 percent per year.

“If we compare the results of this study to the results of 16 published studies for other commodities, the bottom line is that these USMEF programs have had a larger impact on import demand than the majority of similar programs for other commodities.”

More details on Dr. Kaiser’s findings are available
“When you look at some of the products that we export, you see a price volatility in some cases,” Rupp said. “But there’s a constant return over what we could expect if we had to ‘disappear’ these products into a domestic market. So I want to say thanks for the great job USMEF does in helping us promote and position our products in the export markets. Clearly today, we’re not in business without strong international growth.”

John Bellinger, CEO of Food Safety Net and Agri-West International, spoke not only to the importance of exports to the U.S. meat industry, but also to the health of the entire U.S. economy.

“There’s one way for our country to get out of this economic recession,” Bellinger said. “We have to export our way to prosperity. Do you think China became an economic powerhouse by selling to its own people? They exported. They exported their way out of poverty. We’re just trying to export our way out of a little recession – China exported its way out of poverty.”

USMEF Chairman Keith Miller and President and CEO Philip Seng also addressed the opening general session audience, recapping export results in 2011 and discussing the challenges that lie ahead. Market updates were provided by regional directors who represent USMEF in Japan, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

Thursday’s general session will include a global market review and updates from China, Taiwan, South Korea and the ASEAN region. Committee activity on Thursday will include meetings of the USMEF Exporter Committee, Beef and Allied Industries Committee, Pork and Allied Industries Committee and the Feedgrain and Oilseed Caucus.