Audio: Producers Get Firsthand Look at U.S. Meat Promotions in Japan

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This U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) report includes observations from U.S. livestock and grain producers who visited Japan Sept. 3-8 to meet with buyers of U.S. pork and beef and get a firsthand look at how their support helps grow demand in the leading international market for U.S. red meat. The “USMEF Heartland Team” included Wanda Blair, a cattle producer from Vale, South Dakota, who serves on the USMEF executive committee. In her first visit to Japan, Blair was impressed with the trade seminar USMEF conducted for importers, distributors and other key industry contacts.

Jerry Maier (pronounced MY-ER), a corn and soybean grower from Eagle Grove, Iowa, and director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association was also a first-time visitor to Japan. He offers his observations from USMEF supermarket promotions in Tokyo.

Nebraska Corn Board member David Merrell, a corn and soybean producer from St. Edward, Nebraska, last visited Japan in 2007 and remarks on the strong growth in consumer interest in U.S. pork and beef.

Other members of the USMEF Heartland Team delegation were: Bill Lickley, Idaho Beef Council; Cale Buhr, Charles Knipe, and Leon Dorn, Nebraska Soybean Board; Jay Reiners, Nebraska Corn Growers Association; Chris Abbott, Nebraska Beef Council; Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture; Dave Maples, Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association; Ray Allan Mackey, Kentucky Corn Promotion Council; Dennis McNinch and Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn Commission; Kenlon Johannes and Lance Rezac, Kansas Soybean Commission; Richard Wortham, Texas Beef Council; Eldon White, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; Patrick O’Leary and Gene Stoel, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; Mike McCranie, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; Theresa Sisung, Corn Marketing Program of Michigan.


Joe Schuele: In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, we hear from producers visiting Japan learning more about the promotion of U.S. beef and pork. Here’s South Dakota cattle producer Wanda Blair.

Wanda Blair: The most impressive was the trade seminar with over 900 participants there, buyers of our product. And then there was a tasting session afterwards. I was amazed, first, at the number of people who wanted to come, and the respect they have for the USMEF personnel here, but also the personnel at the Denver office. They are very appreciative of that.

Joe Schuele: Iowa corn grower Jerry Maier was impressed with what he saw at USMEF retail promotions.

Jerry Maier: What I’ve been learning over here is how much they want the well-fed, corn- and soybean-fed, high-marbled beef and pork. There is a big competition from all the other countries and the one thing they keep coming back to is the flavor of the U.S. beef and pork. It is superior to just about everything they get, but it comes down to price competition, also. We were at two grocery store chains, two big markets, and they are very receptive to people stopping and picking up the American cuts, and they were very happy to see farmers. These people really appreciate the fact that we take the time to come over here.

Joe Schuele: Nebraska Corn Board member David Merrell last visited Japan in 2007. He was impressed at the growth and the presence of U.S. meat.

David Merrell: The biggest thing that surprised me was just the growth and interest in U.S. meat. Pork and beef have both taken huge strides, and something that’s also been a big change is that there’s a lot more interest in thicker cuts. Every buyer that we talked to was very positive about the U.S. product and they really enjoyed it, thought it was a superior product. And, of course, so do we. Whenever we go on international trips, we always need to tell our story, tell the people, the buyers, where their meat comes from so that they have a lot of confidence in what they’re eating.

Joe Schuele: For more please visit For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.