As the current Nebraska Corn Board intern, I was able to attend Commodity Classic 2016 in New Orleans. While there, I spent some time at the trade show, engaging in conversations with several different agribusinesses. I stopped by the following three booths: United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF), United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), and the United States Grains Council (USGC). I had really great, informative conversations with each of these three agricultural groups.
At the USMEF booth, I learned that their mission is, "to increase the value and profitability of the U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries by enhancing demand for their products in export markets through a dynamic partnership of all stakeholders." This past year they were able to set a new record for global pork exports, which increased by about 5 percent from last year. This was largely driven by demand in China, Mexico and South Korea. After speaking with a representative of USMEF, I was informed that one of their main focuses this year has been producer education, which will continue being a priority into the upcoming years. Being present at Commodity Classic helped USMEF reach these producers from all over the nation.
I also spoke with employees of USFRA. Their main goal is to communicate all aspects of agriculture with consumers who might have questions about how today's food is grown and raised. The vision of USFRA is to build trust and confidence in today's agricultural practices. Specifically, they have been working to build the bridge between farmers and consumers. This year, they have focused on farmers thanking consumers and have trained farmers to be comfortable talking to consumers about any concerns or questions they may have.
Finally, I spoke with representatives of USGC. Their goal at Commodity Classic was to entertain all attendees, but doing so in a way that would show the importance of agricultural trade. Their mission is to develop markets, enable trade, and improve lives. I learned that one of their main priorities is to help people understand the global picture of crops, including prices and profitability. Being present at Commodity Classic allowed USGC to create new partnerships by building valued, long-lasting relationships with farmers, agricultural leaders, policymakers and administrators.