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USMEF celebrates 40th anniversary

by Ben Nuelle

United States Meat Export Federation celebrates their 40th anniversary.

Phillip Seng is president and CEO of USMEF.

He says they have come a long way over the last 40 years.

“What makes this very special as we look back, this year we are going to be approaching close to $14 billion in U.S. red meat exports. We’ve made some pretty major end roads and advances despite some overwhelming obstacles but the industry has prevailed.”

Seng says there is a current challenge at hand though.

“The current issue that we are calling is the tsunami of meat we are seeing in the United States. As you know, beef production, poultry production, pork production are increasing and we have a tremendous challenge before us.”

He says this creates major problems for the producer to make a profit.

“There is a lot of anti-trade sentiment out there. When you look at the world and how 95% of the consumers are outside the United States and over 80% over the world’s buying power outside the United States. We see trade as a very important to agriculture.”

Seng says there’s not just issues overseas but here at home too.

“There are issues for example we had this pork dispute and we are encouraged there might be some positives as far as not having this occur again. But any interruptions that we have calls into to question the U.S. as a supplier and with all of the production we have in the U.S. we surely don’t need that.”

He says another example is bankruptcy.

Seng says as the trade grew twice as fast as the overall world economy in 1992. This is not the case today.

“Take a look at our August numbers and throughout the year. We are up in positive columns. We all know some of the challenges we had in Korea here recently. The U.S. is the number one supplier of U.S. beef to Korea. Just this past month we eclipsed Australia as the number one chilled beef supplier to Japan. The commitment of the industry to these international markets is paying dividends.”

Seng also says they’re seeing more pork imports go into China.