Crediting the collaboration between the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the U.S. red meat industry for the many successes she has enjoyed in her career, Anne Dawson accepted the 2017 USMEF Distinguished Service Award Thursday at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona.
The award, which recognizes an individual for leadership and lifetime contributions toward the achievement of USMEF’s export goals, was presented during the USMEF awards luncheon.
“This award reflects, in reality, the success of our mutual collaboration over the years – any success that we have had is the result of working with you,” said Dawson, senior trade advisor for FAS. “You have helped us answer on-the-ground operational questions that our trading partners have posed to us. You regularly open your ranches, your feedlots and your meat plants to visiting delegations. You provide critical input, and even after successful negotiations, if we find problems at the port of entry, you are there to assist us and help us resolve the problems.”
Roel Andriessen, USMEF past chair and master of ceremonies for the awards luncheon, pushed all the credit back to Dawson, sharing personal experiences of his work with her and pointing to her consistently dedicated approach to helping exporters and all sectors in the U.S. red meat industry reach their business goals.
Since 2003, Dawson has worked collaboratively with USDA colleagues and impacted industries to address market closures and market access restrictions resulting from the first detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States. She has been responsible for coordinating negotiations addressing beef access restrictions in Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia, as well as access for U.S. lamb in Taiwan. She continues to coordinate similar USDA interagency efforts to regain access for other ruminant products that are still restricted or banned due to BSE. One of the recent highlights of these BSE-related efforts was the reopening of China to U.S. beef after an absence of more than 13 years.
A native of Alabama, Dawson was raised on a small family farm in the Gulf Coast region that included cattle and vegetable production. She is a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and received a Master of Arts in Commercial Diplomacy from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California.
Before taking her current position as senior trade advisor in 2007, Dawson served as an international economist focusing on Asia-related agricultural access issues. This included early implementation of Taiwan’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession terms and conditions and providing support for implementation of China’s agricultural obligations under the WTO.
Today, Dawson also monitors many sanitary and food safety issues related to red meat trade and assists her USDA colleagues in their efforts to address ongoing prohibitions and restrictions on veterinary drugs.
“We have the privilege of leading USDA international initiatives and we get to focus almost exclusively on behalf of American agriculture exporters, whether through our work in trade policy negotiations or capacity building or trade promotion,” Dawson explained. “Again, this award is an example of what we have accomplished together.”