Red Meat Optimistic, But Stresses Need For Trade Agreements

All sectors of the U.S. red meat export business gathered in Kansas City for the U.S. Meat Export
Federation Spring Conference. USMEF Chair Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Minnesota, says the
industry has a positive outlook for 2024.

“I’m a pork producer. We’ve come through a very difficult 12 to 14 months. There’s a return to profitability here, so very much optimism,” Spronk says. “You look at the first three months of this year — volume’s up 6 percent, value’s up 7 percent. There’s still continued demand here.”

In his remarks at the conference, Spronk highlighted a need for market access through new free trade agreements.

“We do need a level playing field, and I think that’s the position we just need to keep verbalizing in agriculture here,” he says. “I’d make reference to Vietnam. Vietnam could have been within TPP here. They’re in CPTPP. We’re on the outside looking in here. We’re at a tariff disadvantage on our products that go into that country at a timeframe when they could really use our product. We want to make sure our administration and our Congress hear that.”

The USMEF Spring Conference hosted a number of dynamic presentations from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kip Tom, CattleFax CEO Randy Blach, and Power of Meat author Anne-Marie Roerink.