Back to its Beefy Best: Seng Speaks to the US

US - With cattle markets slumping and producers searching for ways to add value to their herd, beef exports are drawing a lot of attention at the 2009 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. The convention kicked off Wednesday and concluded Saturday in Phoenix.
calendar icon 3 February 2009
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At Friday's general session, USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng addressed cattlemen on the importance of beef exports to their bottom line, and thanked them for their commitment to international marketing.

Seng said that after being shut out of global markets in 2003 due to BSE, the U.S. beef industry is very close to regaining the pre-BSE value of its total worldwide exports. When December results are tallied, the U.S. beef industry will reach $3.5 billion in worldwide exports for only the third time in history. With a strong performance in 2009, the industry could break its record of $3.86 billion set in 2003.

Seng emphasized the value added to U.S. cattle through the export marketplace. He said the per-head premium that exports deliver has climbed most of the way back to its pre-BSE level, and that prices would be slumping far more without this added value. He said the export premium is estimated to be $135 per head at the present time, but could exceed $200 per head when the United States regains full access to Japan, South Korea and other key markets. Seng added that the U.S. beef industry is now exporting 11 percent of its total production, compared to about 13 percent at its peak in 2003.

Seng also provided an update on USMEF marketing activities, explaining the strategies necessary for success in the global markets. But he said the extremely high quality of U.S. beef is an excellent selling point, once international consumers are given access to the product.

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