Texas beef industry tour reaches greater Russia area
AUSTIN -- As Texas beef producers keep a close eye on trade relations with Russia, the Texas Beef Council works to build demand in the greater Russian area known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
In conjunction with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, according to an August Texas Beef Council press release, the Texas Beef Council recently showcased U.S. beef to nine Commonwealth of Independent States chefs through an extensive tour of the Texas beef industry. During the Texas beef industry tour, the chefs visited numerous segments of the beef industry. The tour began with a Beef 101 class where they were given an industry overview and learned about the quality and safety of U.S. beef. To ensure the group experienced a broad spectrum of the beef industry, team members visited a working cattle ranch, feedlot, and packing plant.
“Right now, each fed steer and heifer has right at $216 worth of value added just because of our export markets,” said Jason Bagley, Texas Beef Council senior manager of beef quality and exports. “So, if all the export markets were to close, that $216 would be gone.”
Over a 22-year period, the Texas Beef Council has invested $23.9 million in developing international markets through the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
The Texas Beef Council “board of directors has long recognized the value and opportunity present within international markets,” Bagley said. “The latest USMEF [U.S. Meat Export Federation] data shows an impressive 5-to-1 return on investment.”
Texas cattleman Larry Pratt, a Texas Beef Council board member and Cattlemen’s Beef Board Global Growth Committee chairman, said that’s hard to beat.
“Just the other day, I asked a guy, ‘If I stood here and gave you $5 for every $1 you had in your pocket, how long would you do that?’ He said, ‘I would do it all day long.’ Well, that’s what we’re looking at,” said Pratt.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, in May, total U.S. beef (muscle cut and variety meat) exports rose 3 percent over last year’s levels to 97,820 metric tons valued at $513.6 million, a 9 percent increase. They accounted for 10 percent of beef muscle cut production and 12.7 percent of beef and variety meat production, similar levels to last year. For January through May, export volumes dipped 3 percent to 440,840 metric tons valued at $2.26 billion, a 3 percent increase over last year’s record-setting pace.