Audio: Still Plenty of Growth Potential for U.S. Pork, Beef in Colombian Market

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Since the United States entered a free trade agreement with Colombia in 2012, it has become one of the fastest-growing destinations for U.S. red meat.

Don Mason, who will serve as a U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) project specialist in Colombia, has a long history in the Colombian market that began as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1970s. Mason later farmed and raised livestock in northwest Iowa before serving more than 16 years on the staff of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Mason is excited about his new role and sees excellent growth potential for U.S. pork and beef in Colombia, where demand for high-quality protein continues to surge.

Through July, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to Colombia totaled just under 52,000 metric tons – up 50 percent from a year ago – valued at $118.6 million (up 47 percent). Beef and beef variety exports were also well ahead of last year’s pace, increasing 29 percent in volume (3,526 metric tons) and 28 percent in value ($11.3 million).

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.