The model that has been established to promote U.S. beef exports internationally has been a successful one – and has spawned a growing replication of the model, proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. At the same time, it is creating vigorous competition for overseas red meat customers.

The infrastructure that the U.S. red meat industry, through the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), which contracts to manage foreign marketing programs for the beef checkoff, has established in key markets has given a face to the U.S. beef industry and facilitated the development of relationships with importers, retailers, foodservice industry and government officials to grow U.S. beef exports.

“Those lessons have not gone unnoticed by our international competitors, who are making similar moves to establish permanent offices in key markets – like Japan – to recapture some of the high-margin customers the U.S. has taken from them over the years,” says Greg Hanes, USMEF assistant vice president, international marketing & programs. “Other nations have adopted the U.S. international model and begun aggressively pursuing the same high margins that the U.S. has come to enjoy from beef exports.”

In October, U.S. producers realized a return of approximately $170/head of fed slaughter, with high-value markets like Japan and Korea accounting for a significant amount of that return.

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