(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle and Joe Schuele as they talk about the US Meat Export Federation – what it does; how it is funded and the recent victories the group has enjoyed.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from San Diego, have the opportunity to visit with Joe Schuele. He is with the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Joe, over the last, well first let’s talk about what the U.S. Meat Export Federation does. (Joe) We are the marketing organization for U.S. beef, pork and lamb in international markets. So, we have marketing programs in really about 80 countries. We have offices in the larger markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico City. And we also focus, in addition to marketing, we focus on market access issues trying to smooth the way for exporters of U.S. meat to be able to reach these markets and keep their product flowing smoothly. (Kyle) Who supports the U.S. Meat Export Federation? Are you funded by government or commodity groups or how do you get your funding? (Joe) We do receive funding through USDA though the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. We’re not a government agency but we are a not-for-profit organization that qualifies for some of that funding. We’re also funded by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff. Additionally we get a lot of support from the corn and soybean industry. They see animal agriculture as their largest customer. They feel like meat exports is a big part of their biggest customer’s profitability. And so we receive quite a lot of support from those state organizations. (Kyle) There’s been some recent victories. (Joe) Yes, we’ve had some good news lately in some small markets. Israel for the first time since 2003 is accepting U.S. beef now. Israel is not going to be large volumes. They have very stringent kosher slaughter and handling requirements. But for a couple of U.S. companies that want to make the investment we think there could be some profitable opportunities there. South Africa, also open for the first time since 2003. That’s been quite a battle. And we do think that there’s some real opportunities for U.S. beef there. And we received improved access to Columbia. We no longer have an Export Verification Program for Columbia. We’ll be able to ship bone-in as well as boneless product down there. And that’s a growing market that we think we will do well in. (Kyle) Even though you represent multiple species, we are at the Cattlemen’s Convention right now. When it comes to cattle, it’s not a simple market. There’s a lot of different grades of cattle going a lot of different directions and you mentioned kosher. We have halal. It’s very complicated. (Joe) Well, it sure is. And halal standards aren’t all the same for every country. Our largest, we ship our largest percentage of our halal beef is bound for Egypt. Egypt is a really outstanding market for U.S. beef livers and other variety meat, that really wouldn’t command much attention here in the United States. So, to be able to send those over to Egypt and get a good return for them is quite good. We also ship halal beef to places like Malaysia and Indonesia and there’s also a good demand for halal beef in markets where it’s not necessarily required. But that’s what the customer wants. We ship a lot of halal beef to Canada for example and the Caribbean. We hope to ship halal beef to China someday soon, if we can get access to China, because a lot of the beef that enters China from other sources is halal certified as well. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Joe Schuele. Joe is with the U.S. Meat Export Federation. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Kyle will be back with Don Close with Rabo AgriFinance.