Through their investment in the Minnesota corn checkoff, farmers support the efforts of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. With 19 offices located worldwide, the organization is devoted to building relationships and educating markets abroad about the benefits of American pork and beef.
To continue to grow the export markets for pork and beef, USMEF focuses on strengthening relationships with current top customers, including Japan, Mexico, Korea and China (for pork). It also has a strong presence in emerging regions like Africa, Southeast Asia, as well as South America and Central America.
USMEF's on-the-ground efforts include educating consumers about the benefits of grain-fed pork and beef, which often includes sharing why paying for grain-fed is worth the added expense when compared to grass-fed.
"Grain-fed is an attribute for increased value. The reality is we aren't the cheapest price, in fact we are often the highest-priced product," USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom says. "Countries like Japan and Korea know that, and are willing to pay for it. Some developing regions are still learning the differences, and it is our job to tell the story of why grain-fed is so much better."
More than 14% of U.S. pork and beef is exported. The USMEF study projects these red meat exports will have a $23.1 billion market value to U.S. corn from 2020-29, and a $4.5 billion market value for U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles. Pork and beef have been the fastest growing category of corn use since 2015, according to the study.
Halstrom is optimistic exports of pork and beef will continue to play a valuable role. Helping continue that momentum, the U.S.-Japan trade agreement that went into effect last fall removed the in-bound duties on American beef and pork.
"We were at a significant disadvantage until that agreement," Halstrom says. "We were playing a little defense in that market, but now we can start to move on offense."
Building markets abroad is one of many ways Minnesota farmers' investment in the Minnesota corn checkoff is building a more profitable and sustainable future on the farm. Learn more about how the checkoff is building a brighter future on the farm by clicking here.