July 28, 2017

Oh the Places U.S. Meat Will Go!

When hosting a dinner party my mother taught me that it is important to be warm and welcoming and to always have a clean home. She emphasized that what makes a dinner party successful is for guests to have good conversation and to provide them a delicious meal. Fortunate for me, the U.S. Meat Export Federation office is very similar to this kind of system, where hospitality is key and hard work is rewarded. There are always guests coming and going, whether it be a foreign Ambassador from Ecuador, a team of 30 Japanese businessmen visiting the United States to learn more about our beef, or a guest from Washington D.C. coming to discuss NAFTA (yes, these are all real examples)! Every day brings new challenges and a chance to interact with people around the country as well as around the world. This is why it is key to always be warm and welcoming, to engage in conversation, and to always—always enjoy a great meal of U.S. raised beef, pork, or lamb with excellent company!

In June, I had the opportunity to travel with a trade team from Mexico and Central America. The team came to the United States to interact with pork processors and learn about U.S. pork. The trade team consisted of ten representatives from many companies in Mexico and various countries throughout Central America, along with three international USMEF staff, myself, and a colleague from the Denver office. We had several fun dinners, toured processing plants, and even took a day trip to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Some highlights include, touring the Tyson pork plant in Storm Lake, Iowa, attending the annual International Dinner hosted by the Iowa Economic Development at Wassenaar Farms, and riding in a limousine style bus jamming to Spanish music throughout Iowa. There were 200 guests at the International Dinner with representatives from every continent and dozens of countries (excluding Antarctica of course). Thankfully, I became good friends with our interpreter who helped exchange questions between myself and the group, and taught me various cultural difference, such as kissing on the cheek whenever greeting someone. My experience with the trade team was a highlight of my summer!

Throughout June and July many international and domestic groups have visited Denver. Our responsibility is to grow a strong relationship and provide information on why they should either purchase U.S. meat or become a member of USMEF and reap the benefits of trade. I have sat in on many meetings with groups from around the world, all coming to learn about our protein and why it is the best—of course I am very biased towards our U.S. product! Some presentations include projections on how much pork will be exported in the future, benefits of branded beef programs, and opening new markets. Fun fact: growth in red meat exports is projected to increase by 26% from 2016-2025, that is why I am so excited to be a moving part to make that happen! The promise of trade and growth will benefit the entire agriculture industry and grow our economy.

Recently, I visited the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association here in Denver and assisted a presentation to the Kentucky Cattlemen Association. My supervisor, John Hinners, spoke with the group on the Asian market, particularly Japan and South Korea where a large sum of Kentucky beef is sent. He discussed various types of product and cuts they prefer and where they are sold in those specific markets. Both, USMEF and NCBA work closely and have a strong partnership to promote beef.

Even though we are all business throughout the week, after hours every Thursday evening the office comes together to play softball in a recreational league here in Denver. Our team is called the “Grand Hams” and we all have a blast playing. I won’t tell you our record because it is slightly embarrassing, but this is the first year we have competed in a league, so cut us some slack! I have never played softball so it has been a learning experience! During one close game I was up at bat, the pitcher yelled for everyone in the outfield to move up (again I will stress my lack of softball skills), he pitched the ball and I swung, it shot down the first base line. It went by the first basemen and he and the right fielder were scrambling to get the ball. Meanwhile, I made it all the way to third! We were all tied up, 9 to 9. My teammate up at bat after me hit the ball and I finished the home stretch making the score 10 to 9! We won that game and I was voted MVP, which was the highpoint of my softball experience thus far.

Michaela Clowser
U.S. Meat Export Federation
1660 Lincoln Street, Suite 2800
Denver, CO 80254
Office: 303.623.MEAT

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