South Dakota corn industry leaders realize that their greatest opportunity for increased sales and growth is through the export market. The realization has developed into an active partnership with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
With an estimated 230,000 cattle on feed and nearly 1.4 million hogs and pigs, South Dakota is a big player in the national livestock arena. “The corn industry knows that its No. 1 customer in the U.S. is the livestock feeding industry,” said David Fremark, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. “When we export U.S. beef and pork, the product goes overseas and the value stays here.”
South Dakota’s corn industry has backed that statement with investments which USMEF has matched to implement trade access and promotional programs in key international markets. Over the past nine years, South Dakota corn has contributed in excess of $1 million to support export-oriented programs, according to Lisa Richardson, executive director of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.
According to the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, since the creation of the Market Access Program in 1985, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by nearly 300 percent and today more than 1.2 million Americans have jobs that depend on these exports.
“If we’re going to increase profitability through increased sales, we’re going to do it by selling meat to foreign countries,” said Fremark. “That’s our only hope to improve profits in the current climate.”
“We value the partnership we have developed with South Dakota corn,” said Philip Seng, president of USMEF. “Utilizing matching funds, we are able to multiply the value of their Checkoff dollars to have a meaningful impact in the marketplace. That was the intent behind the original Market Access Program, and we’re seeing it work well here.”