Industry Leaders Gather for USMEF Meeting in New Orleans

Danita Rodibaugh

USMEF Chair Danita Rodibaugh

Several hundred leaders of the U.S. red meat industry, ranging from producers, processors, exporters and traders – joined by a hundred meat buyers from around the world – gathered in New Orleans this week for the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (USMEF) Product Showcase and Board of Directors Meeting.

The international buyers, representing retail, food service and processors from destinations including Japan, South Korea, Russia, Central and South America and Hong Kong, received hands-on training in advanced meat-cutting techniques as well as information on new and alternative cuts of U.S. beef, pork and lamb to fit in a wide variety of cuisines and menu price points.

“The meeting will enable producers, exporters and other meat industry leaders to hear from USMEF’s international directors about market conditions and challenges in key destinations for U.S. beef, pork and lamb,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, prior to the meeting’s start. “At the same time, the Product Showcase opens a real-time window for our exporter members to introduce their products and brands to more than 100 meat buyers from around the world.”

Philip Seng

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng

Danita Rodibaugh, USMEF chairman and a farmer and pork producer from Rensselaer, Ind., welcomed attendees to the three-day conference, which will feature market updates from USMEF directors representing many of the organization’s 18 international offices.

“I am pleased to see such a large turnout,” said Rodibaugh. “USMEF has such a diverse membership representing the U.S. red meat industry from the feedgrain farmer to the exporter on the ground in the international marketplace. This meeting gives the producers, processors and other industry stakeholders in the U.S. a close-up view of the issues and challenges we face in export markets as well as how USMEF is using our beef, pork, corn and soybean checkoff dollars to promote our red meat products.”

The conference continued Thursday, with status reports from the individual markets as well as meetings of the individual industry segments to discuss specific issues of importance to their members, and concluded today.