March 30, 2010

Adding value to corn worldwide -- through beef and pork!

Nebraska corn farmers add value to their corn and corn co-products through exports – but not just corn exported as raw corn or distillers grains as raw distillers grains. There is more value (a lot more!) when that corn and corn co-products are fed to livestock and converted to meat. This is the value-added product that Nebraska farmers create, and when beef and pork are exported, the meat may go overseas but the value stays here.

Farmers have the ability to do this through the partnership of the Nebraska Corn Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), an organization that develops export markets and promotions for red meat products.

Nebraska ranks number one in commercial red meat production in the U.S. (more than 7 billion pounds), number two in cattle on feed (2.5 million head and cattle slaughter at more than 7 million head), and number six hog slaughter (nearly 7.95 million head), according to 2008 USDA/NASS data.

Taking a look more specifically into the pork and beef industries in Nebraska:
  • The equivalent of 6,000 Nebraska hogs are exported each day, which is 22.5 percent of total production in the U.S. With that, more than 90,000 bushels of corn are indirectly exported through Nebraska hogs each day.
  • The equivalent of 2,300 Nebraska cattle are exported each day, which is 10 percent of U.S. production. Therefore, more than 130,000 bushels of corn are exported through Nebraska cattle each day.
Exports also bring value to Nebraska beef and pork production. In 2009, the estimated returns to the Nebraska red meat industry were more than $866 million! That breaks down to $66.5 million in pork export premiums and $800 million in beef export premiums. If just raw corn was exported instead of being fed to livestock, it would have generated only $297 million.

USMEF promotes U.S. raised meat, but it also has a special program to market Nebraska corn specifically to Korean consumers through corn-fed beef. Korea is the sixth largest market for U.S. beef, and in June 2009, Nebraska corn checkoff dollars assisted with a U.S. beef BBQ promotion with E-Mart in Seoul, Korea. Samples of U.S. beef were handed out to more than 7,000 Korea consumers. Sales increased 96 percent during the promotion and U.S. beef share of sales increased from 26.4 percent to 39.3 percent during the weekend long event.

A large part of developing these export markets is regaining trust with consumers who believe U.S. meat is unsafe due to BSE and H1N1 “swine” flu. Social media has greatly helped in spreading the positive messages of U.S. meat in foreign countries, as videos and blogs have captured a large audience of meat consumers in these areas and are having a positive impact.

The working relationship with USMEF and the Nebraska Corn Board have increased export opportunities for Nebraska products, and not only allows for increased profitability through increased sales, but allows countries like Korea, Japan, China, Russia and more, to experience the great taste of U.S. raised, corn-fed beef and pork!

Other Nebraska Corn Kernels posts about USMEF:
Corn checkoff in the news
Cattlemen, corn farmers put face on ag in South Korea
Nebraska farmers on the ground in Japan, Korea
Nebraska pork brings value, nutrition to dinner tables around the world
Three of Korea's major retailers begin selling U.S. beef

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