What does it take to sell more U.S. pork to the world? Formulating a winning strategy starts with a conversation, asking the right questions with key stakeholders in the meat industry.
Attending the World Meat Congress this week, U.S. pork producers are wasting no time to engage with world leaders in the meat industry to gather more knowledge and build relationships.
“It is a great opportunity for us to ask them questions on what they need or expect from us,” says Bill Luckey, chair of the Checkoff’s international marketing committee and a pig farmer from Columbus, Neb. “We are hoping to take that information and provide them with something they would like whether that is new technologies or new products.”
He further explains it also opens the door for the world’s meat industry leaders to ask a question to U.S. pig farmers, giving them a contact to reach out to down the road.
World Meat Congress, hosted by the International Meat Secretariat and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, brings together more than 750 of the world’s meat industry thought leaders.
For the first time in 20 years, WMC returns to the United States, giving the U.S. pork industry the opportunity to showcase and promote U.S. pork. As a major sponsor, the National Pork Board is not missing the chance by leveraging Pork Checkoff dollars in a way that returns dollars back into producers’ pockets.
The NPB works closely with the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation to research and develop new markets and expand the existing customer base. This year, Pork Board announced it is putting over $8.77 million into international marketing, increasing investment by 10% from the previous year.
Jan Archer, North Carolina pork producer and past NPB president, shares with National Hog Farmer why it is important to allocate checkoff dollars along with NPB board members and staff’s time on the global marketplace.
“It keeps me in business,” says Archer. “If I didn’t have that 27% of product leaving our shores I would go out of business. There just is not enough profit in it if we just stay in the United States.”
While the pork industry has made strides with American consumers, the real potential is outside of the U.S. borders.
“Most pork eaters do not live in the United States. Ninety-five percent of our pork eaters live off our shores,” stresses Archer. “We need to get the product to people that love it.”
Archer and Luckey, members of NPB’s international marketing committee, explain that selling more pork globally is more than delivering a safe product, which the U.S. pork industry does well. It is about providing the right product for the country’s culture.
Each international marketplace is unique. It takes conversations, and it takes actually visiting the country to fully understand the culture and the people who eat pork.
“There is a lot of variety meats. We do not use the product in the United States the way other countries do. It is used in the center of the plate in another country where here more or less it is something that goes into the rendering situation with no value. In other countries, it has a lot of value, and that adds so much to the bottom line of producers,” notes Luckey. “It is going to be very important to maintain those relationships and export markets.”
Last year, export value contributed $53.47 per hog to U.S. hog producers.
Luckey says, “When you look at the amount of meat that goes to Japan, Mexico and is broken down into dollars, it hits home. It is why we are here at these functions to maintain relationships and ask the questions with the people we do business with.”