USMEF Trade Mission in Asia Focuses on Telling the Story for U.S. Producers

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Dan Halstrom about the USMEF Trade Mission in Asia.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with the president and CEO of the United States Meat Export Federation, Dan Halstrom, about the USMEF Trade Mission in Asia.

“The Asian markets, Japan and Korea in particular, are our bread and butter on the beef side,” Halstrom said. “(They were our) first and third largest markets last year, and historically, that is usually where they fall. Very important on the pork side as well.”

Having a USMEF trade team of producers abroad to see their checkoff dollars at work, Halstrom said, is just as important as the trade in these markets having the chance to see who is producing these U.S. products.

“We always have huge success bringing the producers themselves into the markets and having them help us tell the story to our very important customers, not only in Japan and Korea but all over the world,” Halstrom said.

As for marketing U.S. meat products during the USMEF Trade Mission in Asia, Halstrom said the team utilizes two main strategies.

“One is a short-term strategy, and that is using our producer group to really help tell the story,” Halstrom said. “It is very effective, and in the discussions we had in Korea earlier this week, the first topic was never about price.”

In the discussions in Korea, Halstrom said they were more curious about the production side.

“They are interested in the family farm and the fact that most of these producers are multigenerational producers that put a lot of care and thought into their processes,” Halstrom said. “They want to leave the land better than they found it for their children.”

Another concern of those abroad, Halstrom said, has been the discussion of lower beef supplies in the U.S.

“We are fully locked and loaded to answer that question,” Halstrom said. “With five percent less production, we know we are going to have five percent fewer short plates available for Asia, so what else can we look at?”

Halstrom said they have had the opportunity to show these customers short-term options that would be a good replacement for parts of the carcass that will not be as readily available.

“This is another strategy, to show the customers other options that will be short-term answers, but hopefully will turn into long-term options when the cattle supply does improve,” Halstrom said. “We are seeing success in this area for both Korea and Japan.”

Still feeling the impacts of Covid, food service continues to struggle in these Asian markets, Halstrom said, so there is room for growth in that area later on.

Halstrom also talked about the latest export numbers released from USMEF.

“The trend of the last few months continues, although July is not particularly a peak time of year demand-wise, traditionally,” Halstrom said. “We are comparing to a record last year. We are down 18 percent in the month of July.”

Despite being down in the month of July, Halstrom said there were some bright spots in the report.

“Mexico is up big- up 30 percent year on year, and we are up 17 percent year to date,” Halstrom said. “Mexico is a shining star not only on beef but pork as well.

Another area of the world that was looking better in July, Halstrom said, was Taiwan.

“The Taiwanese market is important for our high-valued chilled production that mainly goes into retail,” Halstrom said. “We saw 15 percent growth, almost 800 tons over a year ago.”

The variety meat markets are continuing to perform very well, Halstrom said, and this includes countries such as Mexico, Africa, and Peru.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the top of the story for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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