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Mexico-Central America Team Comes to Buy

A handpicked USMEF trade team from Mexico and Central America toured pork plants in the Midwest last week, visited the Iowa Soybean Association office and attended the World Pork Expo. The team came to buy – their orders ranged from five to 100 loads per month. Their activities were funded by the Pork Checkoff and the Iowa Soybean Association.

The Mexico-Central America buyer team outside the Tyson Foods plant in Storm Lake, Iowa

The Mexico-Central America buyer team outside the Tyson Foods plant in Storm Lake, Iowa

The World Pork Expo, billed as “the world’s largest pork-specific trade show,” is organized by the National Pork Producers Council and has exhibitors from 48 countries and attracts about 20,000 pork producers and other attendees.

NPB member Mike Skahill, vice president of global affairs for Smithfield Foods, is one of several NPB directors who grilled variety meat samples and answered questions about pork checkoff-funded programs.

NPB member Mike Skahill, vice president of global affairs for Smithfield Foods, is one of several NPB directors who grilled variety meat samples and answered questions about pork checkoff-funded programs.

“Maintaining partnerships with international buyers is key to our success in expanding U.S. pork exports,” said John Hinners, USMEF assistant vice president of industry relations. “USMEF trade teams include importers, distributors and decision-makers from targeted foodservice and retail companies. Team visits give buyers a thorough overview of U.S. production techniques and of the entire pork industry, so they are better informed about the range of products available, safety and inspection procedures and trends in the foodservice and retail industries. Trade teams facilitate business relationships between buyers and sellers.”

The Iowa Economic Development Authority — a USMEF member — hosted a dinner for the team.

NPB’s Steve Larsen (left) and Benjy Mikel grill pork variety meat samples at World Pork Expo

NPB’s Steve Larsen (left) and Benjy Mikel grill pork variety meat samples at World Pork Expo

To highlight the pork industry’s effort to promote pork variety meat to international customers, Steve Larsen, assistant vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board (NPB), and industry consultant Benjy Mikel grilled variety meat samples including tongue, jowl bacon, heart and diaphragm and offered them to pork producers at a tasting and education session at the NPB tent.