The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) concluded its annual Strategic Planning Conference last week with the election of officers for the coming year and approval of a resolution expressing USMEF’s support for formalizing the ongoing discussion about the implications of adopting new production and processing technologies and including representatives of producers, exporters and technology companies in that process.

Mark Jagels, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer and custom cattle feeder from Davenport, Neb., is USMEF’s new chairman. The chair-elect is Leann Saunders, president of Where Food Comes From, America’s leading provider of third-party identification verification and traceability solutions for the livestock and agricultural industries, based in Castle Rock, Colo. Roel Andriessen, the vice-chair, is senior vice president of Tyson Foods responsible for the international sales group of Tyson Fresh Meats. He is based in Dakota Dunes, S.D. Bruce Schmoll, a soybean and corn producer from Claremont, Minn., is the new secretary-treasurer.

“This year has been filled with opportunities and challenges for red meat exports, and I do not expect 2014 to be much different,” said Jagels. “We continue to face hurdles around the world, but despite these challenges we maintain good momentum as we look to improve on last year’s record for the value of U.S. red meat exports. And, as (USMEF president and CEO) Phil Seng said so eloquently yesterday, we need to decide if we are going to ‘compete or retreat’ in the export marketplace. My vote is we compete.”

The resolution, titled “A Technology Innovation Stewardship Policy for the U.S. Red Meat Industry,” was unanimously passed by the USMEF membership that represents nine distinct segments of American agriculture ranging from farmers and ranchers to meat processors, exporters and companies that develop pharmaceutical and food safety technologies. It is the most comprehensive effort by the U.S. red meat industry to develop a coordinated approach to addressing the implications of adopting new production and processing technologies.

“The impetus behind this resolution is both to support the development and utilization of new technologies that will enable the U.S. red meat industry to continue to be the world leader, as well as to maximize opportunities for red meat exports,” said Seng.

As an outgrowth of the resolution, USMEF will create a committee that will monitor new production and processing technologies that are in the late stages of the U.S. regulatory review process, estimate the comprehensive impact of the U.S. industry adopting these technologies, and develop and launch coordinated stewardship strategies designed to secure approval for use of the products in priority export markets, maintain access for U.S. red meat products in markets where it is not possible to secure approvals for certain technologies, and build confidence in U.S. red meat.

John Brook, USMEF’s regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, provided an overview of an upcoming USMEF educational program, the 2014 Market Expo that will take participants to the growing export markets of Milan, Italy, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to gain insights into the markets and see USMEF programs in action. The Market Expo is set for Feb. 22 through March 1. Those interested in the program are encouraged to consult the online brochure and registration form for more details or contact Jackie Boubin at (303) 623-6328 or