USMEF welcomed a team of seven meat buyers from South Africa to the United States for one-on-one meetings with U.S. suppliers and a firsthand look at U.S. beef and pork production and processing. The buyers were accompanied by Monty Brown, USMEF representative in Africa and Europe. The team’s activities were funded through support from the Pork Checkoff and the Beef Checkoff Program.
The team visited three pork processing plants operated by USMEF member companies: JBS in Marshalltown, Iowa, Pine Ridge Farms in Des Moines, Iowa, and Seaboard Foods/Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri. At a farm visit organized by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Linn County Cattlemen’s Association, they toured a cow-calf operation at the Neal and Jennifer Horning farm near Marion, Iowa, which the Hornings operate in partnership with Dave Roll.
The group also toured the FPL Food beef processing plant in Augusta, Georgia. While in Georgia, the buyers gathered for dinner with representatives of USMEF companies to learn more about the attributes and availability of U.S. red meat products.
The South Africa team also had opportunities to visit a variety of retail outlets while in the U.S., focusing on merchandising of U.S. beef and pork and trends in consumer demand.
South Africa reopened to both U.S. beef and pork in 2016 and has quickly emerged as a promising market, especially for beef variety meat. From January through July, U.S. beef variety meat exports to South Africa – primarily livers – totaled 9,175 metric tons valued at just over $7 million, making South Africa the fourth-largest volume destination for U.S. beef variety meat exports.