While the U.S. red meat industry is facing challenges in 2023, exports provided some optimism at the U.S. Meat Export Federation Spring Conference in Minneapolis. Mexico tops the list of export markets where beef and pork purchases have continued to grow this year. Keynote speaker Kenneth Smith Ramos, a former chief NAFTA negotiator for Mexico, offered insights on the agricultural relationship between the two countries and noted areas where the trade dialogue could be strengthened.
?There’s $800 billion in trade overall between Mexico and the U.S, and in the ag sector, it’s over $72 billion bilaterally,? Smith Ramos said. ?We really should send the message to the leaders that free trade in agriculture strengthens food security in the region, and that we should not, going forward, cause any disruptions in this flow of trade in both directions.?
Also addressing the USMEF Spring Conference was former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, who gave attendees a look inside discussions for the next Farm Bill. Peterson urged the industry to press trade issues to the top of the discussion as the new Farm Bill is debated this year.
?My experience when people come into my office, they would talk about the Farm Bill, and they would talk about crop insurance,? Peterson said. ?They’d talk about Title One, they talked about conservation, talk about rural development, and then at the end of the meeting and they’d say, ‘Oh, by the way, we’ve got to do something about trade.’ That was the extent of it. So, you’ve got to get to these members of Congress, and it should be the first thing you talk to them about, not the last thing. And I think if you approached it that way you can get some people to the table that are going to put this on the top of the agenda and not the bottom.?
For more information, visit usmef.org.