Nebraska rancher Rod Gray was one of several hundred cattlemen who gathered in Denver last week for the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. Gray operates a 700-head, registered Angus cow-calf operation near Harrison, Neb., in the northwest corner of the Nebraska panhandle. He also serves on the Nebraska Beef Council board of directors.
Earlier this month, Gray represented the Nebraska Beef Council at a U.S. meat showcase in Bogota, Colombia. At this event, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) brought together dozens of buyers from 10 different Central and South American countries to meet with exporters of U.S. beef and pork. Gray said he was very impressed with the high level of interest in U.S. beef, and especially with the large number of buyers seeking higher-value beef cuts.
Gray adds that he welcomed the opportunity to work with Jessica Julca, the USMEF South America representative based in Lima, Peru. Julca began representing the U.S. meat industry in this region in April 2011.
U.S. beef exports to the Central-South America region set a record in 2011, totaling nearly 57 million pounds valued at $85.5 million. Through May of this year, exports are running 42 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in terms of volume (32.4 million pounds) and 83 percent higher in value ($53.8 million).
Pork exports to the region are also very strong. After a record performance in 2011 (159 million pounds valued at $187 million), this year’s exports are up another 6 percent in volume and 14 percent in value.