Audio: Hosting Pork Buyers from Japan
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Bruce Schmoll of Claremont, Minn., is president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and a member of the USMEF Executive Committee. In the attached audio report, he speaks about a recent opportunity to host a team of pork buyers from Japan at his farm and the personal connection achieved during this tour. Schmoll also draws a correlation between the pork buyers’ tour of Minnesota agriculture and the experience he gained by visiting Japan in 2011 as a participant in the USMEF Market Education Program.
Japan is consistently the largest value market for U.S. pork exports, setting a record in 2012 at nearly $2 billion. Through June of this year, pork exports to Japan totaled more than 473 million pounds valued at $949 million.
JOE SCHUELE: In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report we look at the role volunteer agricultural leaders often play in hosting trade teams from international markets to help show them every phase of the U.S. pork, beef and lamb production chains. Bruce Schmoll is president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and a member of the USMEF executive committee. He recently hosted a team of pork buyers from Japan at his farm near Claremont, Minnesota.
BRUCE SCHMOLL: I think it was a great opportunity for those of us on the USMEF board in addition to Minnesota Soybean because we had a chance to connect personally with these people. They came to the U.S. looking at the whole pork industry from top to bottom. From the farm to the retail outlet and it was great to have the chance to show how concerned we are with the products that we produce. When they came to Minnesota they had a chance to visit with the packers and processors, went to a few retail outlets and finally had a chance to come to my farm, and see what it is like on an average Minnesota farm. They had a chance to look at the machinery and just look at the fields for themselves, many of them don’t have the opportunity to do that, you know to have the open spaces, they don’t see the big fields and large machinery, so it was a great opportunity. The feedback that we had, they really appreciated that chance.
JOE SCHUELE: Schmoll also sees a correlation between the pork buyers tour and the experience he gained visiting Japan as a participant in the USMEF market education program.
BRUCE SCHMOLL: When I first went to Japan, I really didn’t have an idea about their lifestyle, the cuts of meats they buy, their buying habits, you know life in general for the Japanese. I think I learned as much going over there as they probably did coming over here and seeing how we live and how we raise our crops and the importance we put on doing the right thing. I think in the long-term that’s going to lead to improved customer relationships and doing quite a bit more business with the Japanese.
JOE SCHUELE: For more on this and other trade issues please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.