The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Strategic Planning Conference wrapped up last week with the election of new officers. USMEF chairman for 2016-2017 is Bruce Schmoll, a soybean and corn producer from Claremont, Minnesota, where he lives with his wife, Tarrie. Schmoll is a past president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and for several years has represented the oilseed-producing sector on the USMEF Executive Committee.

Schmoll has also served on his county planning and zoning board and on a township board of supervisors. He drew on that experience when addressing USMEF members, reminding them of the opposition and obstacles livestock producers often face when attempting to locate or expand hog production or cattle feeding facilities.

“I know what a devastating effect these proceedings can have on someone, so when we get a chance, we really need to support our livestock producers,” Schmoll said. “They’re trying to grow food for our country and for our international customers, so I just want to share these thoughts and hopefully build more appreciation for the people producing the red meat products that we export.”

Schmoll succeeds Roel Andriessen, Tyson Foods senior vice president for international sales, as USMEF chair. A longtime industry leader promoting red meat exports, Andriessen has been active with USMEF since the mid-1980s.

Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., is the new USMEF chair-elect. Stiffler recently retired as chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen and has 30 years of livestock, meat industry and international marketing experience. He also spent 10 years at major universities involved in teaching, research and extension services.

Serving as USMEF vice chair is Iowa pork producer Conley Nelson, general manager of Smithfield Foods’ hog production division in the company’s five-state Midwest region. Nelson is a past president of the National Pork Board and operates a farm that has been in his family for more than 120 years.

The newest USMEF officer is Idaho cattle feeder Cevin Jones, serving as secretary-treasurer. Along with his brother and other family members, Jones operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot. He is vice chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, has served on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association board of directors and is a past winner of the Idaho Cattle Feeder of the Year Award.

“Exporting red meat is very important for us if we want to expand as livestock producers,” Jones said. “USMEF plays a major role in identifying, opening and developing markets for U.S. red meat, so I look forward to being involved as an officer. When you see the commitment by the stakeholders, the members of USMEF, along with the staff who does such a great job of promoting our products overseas, whether it’s beef or pork or lamb, you understand what makes this a successful organization.”

At its closing business session, the USMEF board of directors approved an update to the organization’s resolution on livestock traceability, which was originally adopted in 2011.

“The updated resolution doesn’t alter USMEF’s fundamental position or approach on traceability, but it better reflects the current trade environment,” Schmoll explained to members. “This resolution more accurately outlines our trading partners’ expectations in the event of an animal disease outbreak. It also eliminates references to the European Union and Japan, since traceability can potentially be an issue in any number of our international markets.”

The full text of the traceability resolution is available online