AFBF President Zippy Duvall

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts

Increased trade and marketing opportunities for exporting U.S. meat was the message attendees heard at the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) spring conference held recently in Arlington, VA.

South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation (SDFBF) Vice President Wanda Blair was encouraged by the positive message and new markets opening up for U.S. pork, beef and lamb.

“Producers have a lot to look forward to as new global markets open up for our products, especially in Asia,” said Blair. “There is a great deal of potential growth in these countries that will mean good news for economies here at home.”

A major new opportunity that was announced was the decision by Costco stores in Korea and Japan to sell U.S. beef exclusively.

Blair added that there was a great sense of upbeat messages about the future of the agricultural industry overall by speakers Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

“They both shared that our industry has great things in our future. We may be going through some tough times right now, but signs are positive looking ahead,” said Blair.

The timing of the conference coincided with President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for 2018 which targeted the elimination of the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program.

“Both of these are important tools that contribute to marketing our product on the global stage,” said Blair. “There is strong bipartisan support for both of these programs on Capitol Hill."

Blair, a rancher from Vale, S.D., serves on the Executive Committee for USMEF.

More information about USMEF can be found at For additional information on South Dakota Farm Bureau, follow this link