Knowing Your Neighbour: US Focuses on Mexico

MEXICO - In terms of sheer volume most pork and beef exports from the US find their way down to Mexico. The market possibility between the neighbouring countries is said to be a lot bigger than it already is. With such potential it is easy to see why it is so important for US producers to get to grips with this marketplace.
calendar icon 26 March 2008
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It also makes this market important for U.S. and Nebraska corn producers – who see a significant amount of their product heading across the border in the form of beef and pork.

“The importance of corn exports via meat is not lost on Nebraska corn producers, which is why we were happy to sponsor a joint trip to Mexico for a Nebraska pork and beef producer,” said Nebraska Corn Board member David Merrell of St. Edward. The trip, which wrapped up March 15, was organized through the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), a Denver, Colorado-based organization that promotes U.S. meat exports.

"We’re used to eating certain cuts of beef in the U.S., and people in Mexico prefer other cuts."
Larry Smith, a cattle producer from Ashland and president of Nebraska Cattlemen

“The Nebraska Corn Board has supported USMEF since it was founded and contributed about $300,000 to its efforts this past year,” Merrell said. “We want to see all Nebraska producers, from corn to cattle to hogs, be successful and profitable, which is why we believe it is important to promote the exports of meat and meat products.”

The delegation to Mexico had the opportunity to tour several beef and pork processing facilities, cattle yards and a boutique meat retailer in order to better understand the local marketplace and its potential.

“We found that although Mexico is the top market for U.S. pork on a volume basis, there is still room to grow,” said Russ Vering of Howells, a member of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association board of directors. “It was good of the Nebraska Corn Board to pull corn, cattle and hog people together on a trip like this so we can all better understand where we fit in the marketplace and how we all need to work together.”

Larry Smith, a cattle producer from Ashland and president of Nebraska Cattlemen, said the Mexican market provides a great opportunity for cuts of meat not consumed as much in the U.S. “We’re used to eating certain cuts of beef in the U.S., and people in Mexico prefer other cuts. The result is the market in Mexico provides a lot of opportunity for cuts of beef that would otherwise have to be discounted in the U.S.,” Smith said. “That helps support beef prices and beef producers.”

According to USMEF, in 2006, Mexico was the largest international market, by a significant margin, for U.S. beef and beef variety meat, with exports of 371,087 metric tons and a record value of $1.1 billion.

Mexico is the number one market for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports on a volume basis and second to Japan on a value basis. In 2006, USMEF said, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to Mexico totaled 356,418 metric tons valued at $557 million.

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of ¼ of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.

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