August 6, 2012

How global our industry has become

By Jessica Clowser, USMEF Intern
Jessica ClowserWow, it’s hard to believe the end of July has arrived! This summer has truly flown by. My time at USMEF has definitely opened my eyes and allowed me understand how truly global our industry has become. Agriculture is excitingly unique from an international standpoint. The U.S. stands behind a safe, wholesome, delicious product which has allowed us to maximize profitability from our numerous export markets. USMEF is totally committed to providing the world with high quality, U.S. red meat.

This past week, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Joint International Markets Committee Meeting at NCBA’s (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association) midyear meeting held in Denver. The International Markets Committee’s primary focus and responsibility is international trade policy and market development. USMEF and the International Markets Committee work closely with one another, developing markets and funding international programs.

USMEF, Phil Seng, addressed the committee and spoke on the tough agricultural climate facing both international and domestic markets in terms of the current drought conditions. However, Mr. Seng did highlight the growing Chinese Middle Class and explained the relationship between China and U.S. is more and more important to the future of U.S. read meat exports. If U.S. pork and beef can break into the Chinese market, the financial reward will be monumental. Since December, 2003, international consumption of U.S. beef has steadily progressed and Mr. Seng stressed the importance of eradicating trade barriers to intensify this progression.

Even though beef prices have been, more or less depressing, there is a silver lining. For every fat steer harvested in the United States, $350 goes back to the producer as a result of export markets. This number represents muscle meats, variety meats, hides, etc. Mr. Seng also explained markets are evolving and brand differentiation is key to maximizing profits in these developing markets.

Throughout the last two weeks, I have been extremely busy with USMEF’s Pork Variety Meat Booklet project. I traveled to Evans, CO and collected numerous pork variety meats at Innovative Foods, a local meat locker who works closely with Colorado State. A grad student form CSU and myself were right there on the kill floor, collecting hearts, livers, stomachs, tongues, whole heads, etc. Cleaning out the stomachs and intestines definitely made sure my gag reflexes were working properly. After collecting the variety meats, we then traveled to CSU and cleaned, and prepared the product for the photographer. These photos will be vital to USMEF’s international markets that request U.S. pork variety meats. They will have the opportunity to see exactly what U.S. packers/processers send to their various markets.

Stomach, hearts, spleen, tongue, leaf fat, cheek meat, kidneys, and liver.

As I wrap up my last blog, I want to once again, thank the Nebraska Corn Board for funding this amazing internship. It has truly been a privilege to work at the world headquarters for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The opportunities I have participated in and the contacts I have made will only benefit me in my future endeavors and I am so grateful for this opportunity.

I am excited to announce I was accepted into Oklahoma State’s Ag Econ Graduate program – let the next adventure begin!

The U.S. Meat Export Federation is hosting Jessica Clowser of Seward, Neb., as their first summer intern supported by a partnership between the Nebraska Corn Board and USMEF. Jessica graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2012 with a B.S. in Animal Science and recently returned from a semester internship with Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns in Washington, D.C. In Denver, Jessica will be assisting with promotions and international relationship opportunities.

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