Farmers discuss presence of U.S. products in Cartagena

Farmers from Indiana are touting the presence of U.S. meat products in Cartagena, Colombia, and the importance of growing agricultural exports.

Southern Indiana Farmer Larry Rusch participated in a recent trip to the city with Indiana Soybean Alliance.

“It’s amazing to me to think that there is such a presence of United States meat here in Colombia. It’s good to see that we’re able to use our soybeans to make more protein to ship overseas,” he says. “We need to find ways to get more protein into this market. There seems to be a growing economy and a growing population that’s hungry for U.S. products and Indiana products.”

Rusch, an ISA board member, raises corn, soybeans, and wheat in Vincennes, Indiana. He farms with his cousins, nephew, and sons, representing the fourth, fifth, and sixth generations to work on the farm.

ISA was one of the sponsors for the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Latin American Product Showcase last week in Cartagena. Seven farmers from Indiana attended the event. Rusch says they were able to talk about the quality of U.S. products with buyers.

“It’s important to us not only to raise a good product, but a safe product. The products we raise are tested, shipped safely, packaged correctly, and exported for human consumption. It’s very important we meet those criteria. If it’s meat and we ship it to Cartagena, Colombia, for example, it’s inspected by the USDA, and it ensures they receive a quality product.”

Audio: Larry Rusch

Northeastern Indiana Farmer Ben Moore raises corn, soybeans, and wheat and has a hog finishing operation.

“It was really neat for me to see some of our ag commodities end up in an end user as well as the pork products and how they’re received from the end user,” he says.

Moore says it was a humbling experience.

“It was actually quite humbling to see how excited (buyers) were to see a U.S. pork producer and thank us for the quality of meat we deliver to them,” he says. “I had never thought of it from that aspect, but they were so thankful for the quality of meat.”

Audio: Ben Moore

The showcase connected exporters of U.S. beef, pork, and lamb with buyers from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Farmers representing Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council participated in a tour of several businesses including Fresmar Distribution Center, Jumbo Supermarket, Megatiendes Supermarket, BevGo Retail Outlet, and more. The group saw a pork loin backrib from Indiana Kitchen being sold in one of the retail stores.

Eastern Indiana Farmer Mark Wenning, an ISA board member, said, “I thought it was interesting how everything was marketed. In one store specifically they had a display right out in front of the store selling U.S. meat and it’s really a premium product here.”

The Cambridge City native says they were able to see the value of checkoff investments.

“It’s a good place to put checkoff dollars because it’s much easier to move meat than it is mass quantities of grain,” he says. “I think working with the meat industry and trying to sell their products is probably a better way of moving grain in the U.S.”

Audio: Mark Wenning

Brownfield was on the ground for the showcase that took place July 12-13 in Cartagena.

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