Beef exports were top-of-mind for many of the 9,000 cattle producers and other beef industry leaders attending the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Nashville this week. The upward trend in U.S. exports in the second half of last year was cause for optimism among producers, but concerns were expressed about maintaining positive relationships with key trading partners and ensuring that market access gains achieved in past trade agreements are protected.
USMEF had many opportunities to share information with producers about the importance of exports and discuss efforts to promote U.S. beef in the international marketplace. Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing, addressed a Cattlemen’s College educational session on the opening day of the convention, providing an overview of USMEF’s history and mission and reporting on export results in key international markets.
Greg Hanes, assistant vice president for international marketing and programs, gave Cattlemen’s Beef Board members, state beef council directors and other industry leaders a summary of 2016 export results and detailed some current retail and foodservice promotions for U.S. beef.
USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng conducted numerous interviews with agricultural and business reporters covering the convention, providing his outlook for global beef trade in 2017, reinforcing the importance of exports for producer profitability and encouraging producers to be strong advocates for trade.
Seng also joined Halstrom and Hanes in addressing a meeting of the Beef Checkoff Program’s Export Growth Committee, which helps establish priorities and provide guidance for checkoff-funded international marketing activities for U.S. beef. This meeting was held Friday afternoon and will be covered in more detail in next week’s edition of the USMEF Export Newsline.