Last week, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its Strategic Planning Conference in New Orleans, where a range of topics impacting global demand for U.S. pork, beef and lamb were covered.
USMEF Chair Dean Meyer, a livestock and grain producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa, welcomed attendees with a reminder of how the organization brings together diverse sectors of agriculture to work toward common objectives. He highlighted the urgent need for progress crafting a new Farm Bill and reauthorizing agricultural appropriations, citing examples of programs critical to the U.S. meat and livestock industries. Protecting the U.S. livestock herd from foreign animal diseases is one such need, and Meyer drove this point home by noting that next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the first BSE case in the U.S.
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom provided an update on the current state of red meat exports and his outlook for 2024. Halstrom highlighted Mexico as a market in which both U.S. pork and beef are performing exceptionally well, with pork exports to Mexico well on the way to another annual record. He noted that U.S. pork exports are achieving broad-based growth in 2023, with demand accelerating in Central America and the Caribbean and the U.S. recapturing market share from European pork in several Asia Pacific destinations. The environment is less favorable for U.S. beef, with 2023 exports running well below last year’s record-large volumes in major Asian markets. But Halstrom emphasized that even in the face of significant headwinds, the U.S. beef industry has opportunities to capture new customers, especially by highlighting the value and versatility offered by underutilized beef cuts.
Learn more about the Strategic Planning Conference on the USMEF website.