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Trade brings value to beef production

A Kentucky cattleman says he’s often asked by beef producers why the U.S. exports beef if it has to import it.

Andy Bishop, chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board tells Brownfield, “We can certainly add value with this export market and still not be taking away from our supply at home.”

He says the US Meat Export Federation recently released a report outlining the importance of trade. “The value the export market adds to that carcass was $454 a head in the in the first quarter of 2024,” Bishop says.

He says that’s possible by growing demand for cuts of beef that aren’t popular in the states. “For example, people who we ate with from Japan were so excited to get large intestine,” he says.  “It was a delicacy for them and it’s something that we throw away at home.”

Bishop says the US Meat Export Federation has done an incredible job of building demand for U.S. beef in different markets around the world. “It comes with a prestige and a persona that it is the best,” he says.  “It’s because it’s grain fed with American grains. It’s raised in a in a way that the consumers here can understand, and they love. They fall in love with the American rancher, and that story has turned into a brand recognition that is paramount.”

Bishop recently returned from a trade mission to Japan and South Korea.

AUDIO: Andy Bishop, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

  • Question – are US beef producers exporting the cuts of beef/beef products consumed by Americans because they’re more profitable than selling them in our country? If yes, how can that not drive up the cost of beef products here to US consumers, considering that this practice would make less beef products available in the US?

    • Darrell,

      This is a great question. Let me get an accurate breakdown of our exports of U.S. beef. But in large part we’re exporting cuts of beef and products that aren’t valued in our country but are delicacies in other cuisines (think tongues, tripe, short ribs, etc.). But I’ll get the accurate export data and share that with you. MG

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