Iowa Beef Producers Maintain, Build Relationships with Mexico on Trade Mission

Written by Theresa Rose on May 11, 2015

Ames, IA – Iowa beef producer Scott Heater, Wapello, and Iowa Beef Industry Council Director of Industry Relations, Doug Bear, represented the Iowa Beef Industry Council on an Iowa Meat Trade Mission to Mexico during March 22-28, 2015.

Mexico is the second largest importer of U.S. beef and beef variety meats in volume (216,386 mt) and third largest by value ($925 million) accordingly to the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Mexico is also one of our largest trading partners, as more than $1.4 billion in goods cross the border each day, including $2.53 million of beef. Currently, more than 24 U.S. states rely on Mexico as a primary or secondary destination for exports.

During the weeklong event, the Iowa Meat Trade Team met with many large and small meat processors in Mexico who source red meat products from the United States. These meetings served as valuable opportunities to answer questions about the livestock industry and learn about the current and future trade opportunities.

“It was interesting to see that consumers in the Monterrey area have a strong demand for higher quality cuts of beef,” said Heater. “It was great to see how our beef checkoff investment in USMEF opens up our opportunities even when we are at home raising beef on our family farms.”

Representatives from USMEF, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, outlined several promotion activities to promote U.S. beef. Merchandising U.S. red meats in Central America is accomplished using inbound trade teams, educating consumers through in-store demonstrations and sampling promotions, and working with food service and retail partners within specific regions of the country. Some popular cuts of beef in Mexico include inside and outside skirts, inside rounds, Coulotte steak, and many variety meats.

“Currently, more than 46% of Mexico’s population is under 25 years of age, which presents great opportunity for U.S. beef exports long-term, but price sensitivity is a major area of concern in certain parts of the country due to the current strength of the dollar and total cattle inventories,” said Bear. “In retail stores we were able to see variety meats that our American consumers would not normally select, which aids in demand building opportunities for our beef producers.”

Mexico is a valuable trading partner for U.S. beef producers through exports of beef products and variety meats. The drought across the Southern Plains the past few years has forced the beef production system to pull cattle from southern regions to meet increased beef demand. Many U.S. beef producers continue to add additional value to these cattle by using American corn and other readily available feedstuffs. Beef is then exported to other countries through well-established trade relationships.

The trip was coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority with funding contributed by the Beef, Pork, and Corn Checkoff Programs. Many of the meat processors the Iowa Meat Trade Team met with while in Mexico were invited to a return trade mission to Iowa in September 2015.