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Trade deals help maximize the value of US products

A lobbyist with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says free trade deals help U.S. cattle producers add value to their products. Kent Bacus, NCBA executive director government affairs, tells Brownfield 85% of what we produce in the U.S. is consumed in the US market.  “But what do we do with that extra 15%,” he asks. “Where do we maximize that value? Those are cuts that Americans are not really looking to buy.”

Bacus says there’s a better market for those cuts elsewhere.  “I’m one that’s willing to eat tongues and livers and all the other stuff that’s there, but most American consumers are not looking to do that,” he says.  “We can take those same cuts and add four and five times the value when we sell them overseas and to the cuisines and consumers that actually want those products.”

While it might sound like a good idea to eat all of the beef produced in the US here at home, he says it’s a difficult task.  “Americans love burgers, but we don’t produce enough, lean cattle,” he says.  “We produce a lot of fat cattle in this country. And to keep up with that demand, we do rely on imports of lean beef trimmings from trusted trade partners.”

Bacus says sufficient and sustainable trade with trusted partners is a critical component to profitability for the beef industry. 

Brownfield interviewed Bacus at NCBA’s Summer Business Meeting in California.

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