Fifteen representatives of U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) member organizations received an in-depth look at the red meat industry in South Korea, China and Hong Kong last week as part of the 2012 USMEF Market Education Program. Participants came from the United Soybean Board, the National Pork Board and pork, beef, corn and soybean producer organizations from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

In Korea, these pork, beef, corn and soybean producers got a firsthand look at USMEF marketing efforts in the retail, foodservice, processing and distribution sectors. They also had an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which took effect March 15.

Roger Knoblock, a hog producer and cattle feeder from Lester, IA, participated on behalf of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. He was pleased with the level of success U.S. pork and beef have achieved in Korea, but recognizes that competition in the market is formidable. According to the Global Trade Atlas, the U.S. is one of 19 countries exporting pork to South Korea so far this year.

“Right now this market is performing very well, even with all the competition we face here,” says Knoblock. “But the promotional work that’s being done in retail stores and restaurants – I’m very impressed. The USMEF-Korea staff has done an excellent job, and I don’t know what we would do without them.”

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