(To listen to an audio interview with Jon Caspers,  click here.)

As Iowa pork producer Jon Caspers begins his position as chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation board of directors one of his primary objectives will be to improve communications with a wide range of agricultural producers and industry sectors. Officer elections took place at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference, which concluded last week in Tucson, Ariz. Caspers replaces outgoing USMEF chairman Dan Halstrom of JBS S.A.

“We have to continue to tell the story of trade and inform producers all across the country about how it influences their bottom line,” says Caspers. “We have a great story to tell.

“We have to make sure we listen to what USMEF members want out of their organization, which is to increase trade, and ensure that we are actively engaged with our membership,” he said.

Caspers, who operates a 13,000 head-per-year nursery-to-finish hog operation in Swaledale, Iowa, originally became involved with USMEF through his leadership roles in the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council. He also serves on the USDA/USTR Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade.

“Every year for 17 years in a row we’ve had more pork export volume than the year before, so that’s quite a string,” Caspers said. “The pork industry became a net exporter in 1995, and we’ve just seen volumes continue to increase.” Caspers says U.S. agriculture must continue to recognize the benefits of trade because it represents such a key component of the agricultural industry and the national economy.

While Caspers has focused on pork exports, he recognizes the diverse constituency that is served by USMEF. He said the organization also can be proud of its success in building markets for U.S. beef, lamb, feedgrains and oilseeds.

Montana beef producer Jim Peterson was selected as the new USMEF chair-elect. Kansas farmer-stockman Keith Miller is the new USMEF vice-chair. Miller raises cattle, wheat, alfalfa, milo, corn and soybeans in Barton County, Kan., and is an active leader in the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Kansas Farm Bureau.

Indiana pork producer Danita Rodibaugh joins the USMEF officer team as secretary-treasurer. Ms. Rodibaugh’s family farm operation produces corn, soybeans and wheat — along with purebred seedstock swine — near Rennselaer, Ind.

New Environmental Protection Agency rules are in place for livestock feeding operations, including a requirement for a Clean Water Act permit for any facility that will discharge to streams, lakes and other waters. The new rules announced Friday also require a Nutrient Management Plan be filed with the Clean Water Act permit. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles discussed the new rule with AgriTalk Radio host Mike Adams. Adams also got reaction to the new rule from Michael Formica, environmental policy counsel for the National Pork Producers Council, who called the rule tough but fair.

Source: USMEF