USMEF Strategic Planning Conference highlights return on export investments  - Indiana Corn and Soy

USMEF Strategic Planning Conference highlights return on export investments 

Posted: November 24, 2023
Category: Indiana Corn and Soybean Post - Winter 2023, ISA, News

By Mark Legan and Jim Douglas 

Members of all sectors of agriculture recently gathered in New Orleans for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference. While we were there, USDA released the latest U.S. red meat export data – numbers that drove home the importance of the investment we make in exports. 

Through the first three quarters of 2023, our exports around the globe contributed $63.16 to the value of each hog slaughtered. As pork producers facing a domestic downturn in demand, that is value that is vital to our operations. So far this year, we have exported nearly $6 billion worth of U.S. pork, a 7 percent increase on 2022. 

But that rate of growth is not guaranteed, so we must continue vital investments in promotion of our exports. We were pleased to hear in New Orleans that USDA has plans to do exactly that. Alexis Taylor, USDA under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, outlined plans for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP). 

USDA plans to utilize $1.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation to fund the initiative aimed at diversifying export markets for U.S. agricultural products. While everyone is anxious to know the specifics, Taylor said USDA is “feverishly working” to finalize the details and will provide more information about the program soon – including how to apply for RAPP funds. 

From right, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor joins USMEF staff members Homero Recio, Jihae Yang and John Hinners for a discussion of promotional partnerships that capitalize on third-party contributions to maximize impact. 

These kinds of investments have dramatic impacts for all of us in agriculture. A recent study by Texas A&M found that each dollar of USDA export market development programs returned an average of $24.50. That’s also why Indiana corn and soy growers continue to be one of the largest contributors to the global work of USMEF in our efforts to “move the pile.” 

And we face challenges in that effort, as noted by USMEF Chair Dean Meyer, a livestock and grain farmer from Rock Rapids, Iowa. 

“Regardless of the sector we are based in, we’re able to come together on most issues and provide a unified voice,” Meyer said. “And I don’t need to tell you, American agriculture needs that unified voice now more than ever, because there are critical programs and issues that need our support.” 

Meyer highlighted the urgent need for progress crafting a new farm bill and reauthorizing agricultural appropriations, citing examples of programs critical to the U.S. meat and livestock industries. Protecting the U.S. livestock herd from foreign animal diseases is one such need, and Meyer drove this point home by noting that next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the first BSE case in the United States. 

USMEF stands ready to take on the challenges of a global market that 2024 brings. We elected a new chairman, Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Minnesota, who is focused on expanding the diversification of both our market reach and of the pork, beef and lamb products in demand around the world. As members of the USMEF executive committee, we thank our fellow Indiana corn and soybean growers for their continued support of these export promotions investments that make this possible. 

Both Mark Legan and Jim Douglas are Indiana Soybean Alliance board members, and they are on the USMEF Executive Committee. Douglas, a farmer from Flat Rock, Ind., represents the United Soybean Board, and Legan, a farmer from Coatesville, Ind., represents the Oilseeds Industry on the Committee. 






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