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US Pork Producers See Export Potential In Mexico, First Hand

by 5m Editor
6 December 2007, at 10:23am

US - Members of the Pork Leadership Academy were introduced them US pork marketing programs in Mexico last week. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) took pork leaders to see how their product sales continue to expand in this neighboring market.

“I was impressed by the opportunity to see the culture, purchasing decisions and overall potential of the market,” said Glen Walters, a pork producer from Coosa, Ga. “It goes back to what USMEF is doing to educate consumers in Mexico because knowledge is power and consumers then make decisions that benefit the US pork industry.”

Twenty five pork producers are selected each year for the Pork Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by the pork checkoff to identify and train industry leaders. Part of the scholarship, includes and introduction to USMEF efforts in international market place. It shows producers how exports benefit their industry and livelihood.

“This trip has been really eye opening,” said Kris Parish, state director of Wyoming Pork Producers Council. “I had no idea the amount of exports we had to Mexico. At home, we do not see the quantity and quality of product we are exporting.”

Large market
Mexico is the second largest market for US pork exports. During the visit, Pork Leadership Academy members learned about market conditions in Mexico and what USMEF is doing to expand the US pork market share. The team visited retail stores such as Costco, which sells US meat products exclusively.

“At Costco, a shopper at the meat case asked if the pork loin she was holding was USDA inspected,” said Andrew Ahart, an executive member of South Dakota Pork Council. “When the butcher affirmed the meat was USDA inspected, the shopper then put it in her basket. Observing a purchasing decision like that showed me that animal health and traceability are so important.”

The team also went to supermarket Gigante, where 70 percent of the meat case is dedicated to US products. And at Commercial Mexicana, where 50 percent of the meat case consists of US meat, the winning US pork cuts from the first USMEF Butcher Contest were featured in a promotion.

“It was good to understand what USMEF is doing to increase exports for US pork producers,” said Conley Nelson, a producer from Algona, Iowa. “The efforts in Mexico show the positive use of checkoff dollars and consumers in Mexico want quality US pork products just like those in the United States.”

The academy members visited the Naucalpan Market, a wet market, where up to 70 percent of meat purchases are made in Mexico, and a TIF certified slaughter facility.
TIF slaughter plants use state-of-the-art technologies and have the highest sanitary standards and most advanced technological processing levels in Mexico. These plants are certified and federally inspected by the Livestock and Rural Development Branch of the Secretariat of Agriculture.

“This trip opened my eyes more to USMEF,” said Brandon Hill, Holland, Michigan. “I knew about pork exports to Mexico, but never knew who was driving the marketing.”

5m Editor