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Trade’s Importance to US Agriculture Major Focus at Convention

22 January 2019

US - Seeking updates on US exports of beef, pork and lamb, trade teams and agriculture professionals from Japan, South America and Africa visited the USMEF booth at the IDEAg Trade Show at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention last week in New Orleans.

At the USMEF booth, farmers and ranchers from more than 35 states also expressed gratitude for the work being done to create demand for US red meat in international markets.

The convention celebrated AFBF’s 100th anniversary and attracted more than 6,000 Farm Bureau members, along with policy makers, industry representatives and international guests.

President Donald Trump and US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue addressed the convention, offering support for trade and agricultural exports.

Overall, the mood among US farmers and ranchers at the annual gathering was positive, said USMEF Chair Conley Nelson, a pork producer from Algona, Iowa.

"There is a lot going on right now that has an impact on trade, but those affected by tariffs and other issues seem upbeat and positive," said Mr Nelson, who attended the trade show and spoke during an informational luncheon sponsored by USMEF in partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

"The takeaway I have from the convention is that producers, both those who raise livestock and those who grow soybeans and corn, are steadfast in their support for what USMEF does. They recognise there are some headwinds and challenges, but they are appreciative of USMEF’s efforts to create global demand for US red meat."

At the USMEF luncheon, Mr Nelson and industry leaders from across the country presented an overview of US beef, pork and lamb exports and provided insights on both existing and emerging markets.

David Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, told those gathered at the luncheon that 2018 was a solid year for exports, despite trade issues that resulted in obstacles in some markets.


David Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), shares data on U.S. red meat exports during a USMEF luncheon sponsored by IFBF [Photo: USMEF]

Looking at year-to-date statistics through October, Mr Miller noted that US beef exports are up 9 percent in quantity and 17 percent in value, while pork exports are up 1 percent in both volume and value.

Compared to the same point last year, US lamb exports are up 69 percent in volume and 19 percent in value, thanks in part to stronger variety meat demand in Mexico.

"So, we have good, positive stories in all three sectors, though there are definitely factors out there that could slow things down," said Mr Miller.

"The good news is that US beef and pork have great strength in the international market and there is great acceptance of our products. This reflects the work of USMEF and other US agricultural organisations."


USMEF Chair Conley Nelson gives an update of USMEF programs to create demand for US beef, pork and lamb in key international markets [Photo: USMEF]

Mr Nelson pointed to the growing knowledge among producers about the value of exports.

"It’s not just beef, pork or lamb producers who benefit, it’s those who grow corn and soybeans, too," he said. "And at a convention like this, where you have farmers and ranchers together in one place, you can see the unity of US agriculture."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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